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.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months 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?


tbaker 1 year, 10 months 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:


tbaker 1 year, 10 months 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.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

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

4,204 said yes.

Teacher Salary Support


tbaker 1 year, 10 months 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.


landon_alger 1 year, 10 months ago

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


weiser 1 year, 10 months ago

I saw this guy interviewed up in my home State after the Walker victory. He was in tears, saying "democracy is dead," this proves it." .....Give me a break ...They had a recall and everyone had a chance to vote. Those farmers and cheese makers have had it up there with the teachers and liberal professors in Madison.


Soapbox 1 year, 10 months 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.


KSManimal 1 year, 10 months 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.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 10 months ago

Teachers could get a huge raise if they worked more than 175 days a year. I'm not sure why government union employees feel entitled to so much. More more more with little accountability. Cheap healthcare. Free retirement savings. I want I want I want. The Wisconsin election results will result in the eventual demise of the unions altogether. This entitlement mentality is why America is almost $16 trillion in debt. Check this out


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months 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.


Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

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


cheeseburger 1 year, 10 months ago

The radio reported this morning that the district offered 3%, and the teachers said no thanks, we want 7%. If that is factual, I have difficulty feeling too sorry for the teachers. In this pitiful economy, if someone is offered a 3% raise, they should be darn happy they got any raise at all and move on. Many people are getting no raises, or are losing jobs. I'm not minimizing the job teachers do, but we can't turn a blind eye to state of the economy - an economy for which responsibility is borne in large part by the man who was elected with the help of many teachers and union members.


KSManimal 1 year, 10 months 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.


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