Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2012

Raises still biggest sticking point in teacher negotiations

June 7, 2012


The Lawrence school district moved closer to an agreement on some issues with its teachers union Wednesday, but remained in different places on the issue of salary.

Teachers are paid based on a pay schedule that provides more money both for teachers with more education and for teachers with more years of service, up to a maximum amount.

Through the course of negotiations Wednesday, the teachers came down from a previous offer of a $3,250 raise for teachers on every step of the pay scale to an offer of a $2,250 raise.

The district’s negotiating team had previously offered to contribute an additional $1.5 million to salaries for teachers, resulting in a permanent increase of $750 to all teachers, and allowed teachers to move up a year on the district’s pay schedule.

The district presented a modified proposal Wednesday that still would have cost $1.5 million; it would have increased the raise to $1,200 for teachers, but would have not allowed teachers to jump to the next level on the pay scale for their years of service.

Kyle Hayden, the district’s chief operations officer, said the district’s new proposal would result in a more equitable distribution of pay to all the teachers on the salary schedule.

The teachers union negotiators balked at not allowing teachers to move on the pay scale based on their years of service.

“We’re closer than we were a week ago, but we’re still far apart on the issue of salary,” said David Reber, a Free State High School science teacher and the teachers’ lead negotiator.

The teachers and the district did move closer to an agreement on several other issues, including the contributions that the district would pay each month toward the medical, dental and vision insurance package. The old contract had the district contributing just over $378. The teachers had originally proposed Wednesday that the district pay $450, but came down to $410. The district offered to pay just over $393.

Negotiations will resume at 5:30 p.m. June 13.


KSManimal 6 years ago

Keep in mind that when the district says they're offering $1,200; they fail to mention that they are taking $1,000 off the table from a one-time payment negotiated last year. Thus, that $1,200 is really only $200. And don't forget that's annual, not monthly.

$200/year is about $17/month. So that raise plus another $50 might buy you a tank of gas.

mom_of_three 6 years ago

No, its still 1200 a year, which is more than many people are getting.
I understand teachers are an underpaid group, but, as stated below, 1200 is pretty good.

chootspa 6 years ago

A bowl of rice a day is better than what many people are getting. That doesn't make two bowls fair pay.

Tracy Rogers 6 years ago

One-time payment is just that, ONE TIME. So you can't take something off the table that's not there to begin with.

chootspa 6 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe teachers have gone many years without any raises, so the increase is to make up for lost time. I

Tracy Rogers 6 years ago

Teachers aren't the only ones. Personally, I haven't had a raise for 3 years. In March I finally got one, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't enough to make up for any lost years of not getting one. Teachers need to realize that they're not the only victims of budget cuts.

chootspa 6 years ago

And therefore it's right that they should continue to be victims of budget cuts? I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm not a teacher, but I'd prefer that we not drive all of them into other professions - or other nearby cities where they get higher pay for a 20-30 minute drive.

Oh, and I'm fairly sure there's a KPERS change coming down the pike that requires them to pay 4% more into the system - that means 4% less in their paycheck. 7% would only cover cost of living (about 3%) in that case. But maybe the KPERS thing hits later. I'm too lazy to go Google.

Tracy Rogers 6 years ago

They're being offered a $1200 raise. That's better than a lot of people are getting these days.

Soapbox 6 years ago

YOU ARE WRONG!! people are tired of whiny! Everyone knows teaching is not a high paying job, don't become a teacher and expect big pay! Teachers become institutionalized non performers anyway..........look at the state of public education.

chootspa 6 years ago

I have looked at public education, and I've seen kids come out with more knowledge than they came in. But I'm sure not paying the teachers will solve that problem.

Liberty275 6 years ago

We need a Wisconsin revolution. That will solve this problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Nothing has been "solved" in Wisconsin. And that'll become readily apparent to a majority of voters over the next couple of years when they discover that a mass exercise in Schadenfreude is a pretty futile way to keep the trains running on time.

Soapbox 6 years ago

people are tired of whiny! Everyone knows teaching is not a high paying job, don't become a teacher and expect big pay! Teachers become institutionalized non performers anyway..........look at the state of public education.

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

Listen, big boy, you have no idea of what you speak.

Who was the last--or only---teacher you talked with who went into the profession for high pay?

What information do you have that shows that teacghers become institutionalized, and, especially, non-performers?

What is the state of public education that you bemoan so much?

It's easy to make unsupported talking points, but quite another to say something that has meat on its bones.

If you have any information that proves your bald, unsubstantiated assertions, let's hear it. Otherwise, keep your prejudices and lack of knowledge to yourself.

By the way, I'd hope your children go to school so they can learn critical thinking skills, unlike their parent.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

$2250 divided by 2080 hours a year works out to $1.08 per hour raise based on 52 - 40 hour weeks. This is, well.... when did you get this kind of raise across the board?

Enough is enough. We need a performance based system ran by parents, not a bunch of idiots on a school board.

Seems the teachers union is in this for themselves and to hell with the children.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"not a bunch of idiots on a school board."

You could be one of those idiots, if you really believe that strongly about it.

chootspa 6 years ago

Math done badly divided by numbers not truly reflecting the amount of work required actually make it a raise of 3423423432423423 billion an hour! HOw dare they!

Soapbox 6 years ago

people are tired of whiny! Everyone knows teaching is not a high paying job, don't become a teacher and expect big pay! Teachers become institutionalized non performers anyway..........look at the state of public education.

chootspa 6 years ago

People are tired of the same post copied and pasted over and over again.

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

Perhaps, if you had had a better education, you'd have the knowledge that lets you know that "a performance system ran by parents" is incorrect.

Secondly, most of the "idiots" on school boards are parents, parents who take the time to be involved rather than simply the time to complain.

You want your voice to be heard, to make your prejudices known? Then run for the school board and make your vast knowledge of the situation relevant.

KSManimal 6 years ago

rockchalk1977, you are wrong on many counts.

First, teachers already work more than 175 days per year. In Lawrence, the contract is for 186 days. And, if you visit any school in the district any day during the "summer off" you will find teachers at school working. Ditto for weekends and breaks during the school year. Ditto for time outside the work day during the week when school is in session.

Second, teachers are not "government union employees". There is no such thing as a "government union." There are teacher's unions, just as there are police, fire, medical employee unions, and more - all of which consist public-sector employees. However, these unions are funded by out-of-pocket-dues paid by those members. What anyone else chooses to spend their own money on, and what groups they choose to be part of, is nobody else's business. If you dislike the freedom of assembly, perhaps you should move to another country.

Third, there is no "entitlement" that you speak of. Salary, health insurance, and retirement savings are all part of compensation for services rendered. Teachers earn every bit of that compensation. If you think the health care is "cheap", just ask any USD 497 teacher how much they pay out of pocket to insure their family (it's close to $1,000/month), or what their out-of-pocket maximum is with their current insurance (it's close to $10K).

Finally, the national debt has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with local school district contract negotiations. Perhaps if you'd paid more attention to your teachers, you wouldn't be so confused.

Soapbox 6 years ago

People are tired of whiny! Everyone knows teaching is not a high paying job, don't become a teacher and expect big pay! Teachers become institutionalized non performers anyway..........look at the state of public education.

BigAl 6 years ago

Wow rockchalk, you sound a bit bitter. I am not saying you are completely wrong but I know several good teachers that take their job a little more serious than what you are saying. In fact, I live near 3 of them and they have been at school every week-day since school has been over. One of them is still working on "No Child Left Behind" reports. Please give it a rest, some of these people are hard working, dedicated individuals.

Soapbox 6 years ago

Wisconsin is the tip of the iceberg......people are tired of whiny! Everyone knows teaching is not a high paying job, don't become a teacher and expect big pay! Teachers become institutionalized non performers anyway..........look at the state of public education.

Patricia Davis 6 years ago

Do you have children? Would you want to teach them eight hours a day?

BigAl 6 years ago

weiser, I bet those "farmers and cheese makers" are still receiving their stimulus money conveniently called farm-subsidies but a hand-out just the same. They have only "had it" when it doesn't apply to them.

Landon Alger 6 years ago

Admin, please remove and block the spam. One cut and paste per thread is enough.

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

Landon, Soapy learned his debating technique from Fox News: find something you know nothing about, disparage it, and do NOT respond to logical refutation or questions.

At least he got that education.

tbaker 6 years ago

So did the teachers come to the meeting and demonstrate “why” they should get a raise?

How about a nice briefing illustrating what a great job they’ve been doing raising test scores? Lowering the appalling drop-out rate? Increasing the number of 9th graders that actually graduate on time? Did they illustrate how current per-student costs are producing equal to or greater than academic performance found in similar measures of private school performance? Did they provide a single performance metric to justify a pay raise?

Of course not.

Competition leads to improvement in our education system like it does every time it is tried. A government monopoly like the one we have now obviously doesn't work. The US is falling farther behind every year on this failed model we’re using. Throwing more money at it won’t help. Education spending since 1970 has nearly tripled, but test scores have remained stagnant. Parents should have a choice. School choice promotes student achievement. Examples abound. Public schools should stand or fall on performance, or the tax payers should be given the option to take their tax money and spend it on sending their children to a private school that out-performs the public school they are currently forced to use. Teachers (like the rest of working people) should be paid on merit, and the poor ones should be fired without having to endure a bunch of crap from the union. After all it is about the children, not the politicians or the teachers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Yea, it really sucks that our schools are so terrible, and we get our butts kicked by all those other countries (who also have public school systems.)

Do you blame your public school education for your not being able to make any argument not based on raw, unsupported assertion?

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Would you favor a sales tax increase to provide more money for Lawrence teacher salaries?

4,204 said yes.

Teacher Salary Support

tbaker 6 years ago

We've tried throwing money at the problem - didn't work.

We've tried national testing - didn't work.

We've tried lowering the bar with relativism - didn't work.

Whats left? Merit-based pay for teachers (like everyone else in the working world) and choice for parents to send their child - and THIER tax dollars - to the school of their choice.

That has not been tried on a large scale yet. Smaller examples are very promising. It is not surprise. Competition works everytime it is tried.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"We've tried throwing money at the problem - didn't work."

For education to be effective, it can't be done on the cheap. Fully privatizing education will only mean that wealthy kids will get a great education, and everyone else will get crap.

"We've tried national testing - didn't work."

Testing is not education. Never has been, never will be. That doesn't mean it's not a useful tool, if done correctly. But using it as a bludgeon and expecting it to improve educational outcomes is idiotic.

"We've tried lowering the bar with relativism - didn't work."

That doesn't mean anything at all, with regards to education. But it clearly is code-speak for a pretty ugly sentiment.

"Whats left? Merit-based pay for teachers"

This assumes that there is some convenient checklist that will allow for the objective evaluation of teachers. But there isn't, and never will be, because every teacher has scores of students, and how each of those students perform is affected by a large number of variables, only a few of which the teacher has any real control over. That doesn't mean that unqualified or underperforming teachers don't exist, or can't be identified, but instituting merit pay isn't going to get the job done all by itself, and, anyway, it'd raise the cost of education, not lower it.

I'm all for giving parents and students more choice, but that will cost more money, not less, and destroying the public education system will result in fewer choices, not more.

tbaker 6 years ago

How is it that every other service in life has gotten faster, better, and cheaper, but one of the most important things we spend money on -- education -- has remained completely stagnant, unchanged since we started measuring it in 1970? Becuase education is largely a government monopoly and monopolies don't improve - most especially government ones.

The drop-out rate is at a all-time high.

The graduation-rate is at an all time low.

Poor children are trapped in under-performing schools which increases the liklihood they will not break out of the poverty cycle. Their parents should have a choice where they go to school.

Money will not solve it. There isn't a link between spending on education and student achievement in the current government monopoly system.

We've nearly tripled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, over the last 30 years, and yet schools aren't better. National graduation rates and achievement scores are flat, while spending on education has increased more than 100 percent since 1971. More money hasn't helped the kids.

The US continues to slip lower and lower in education rankings with the rest of the world.

Who said anything about "destroying" the public education system? People want the system "reformed." There is a huge difference. Competition spurs inovation. Monopolies kill it.

Read and wise up:

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"The drop-out rate is at a all-time high. The graduation-rate is at an all time low."

Absolutely false on both.

And you want us to take you seriously on the rest of your silly assertions?

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