Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Teacher pay increase offer much lower than requested

May 30, 2012


The Lawrence school district is willing to pump up teachers’ salaries by $1.5 million, far less than what teachers had requested.

For more than three hours Wednesday evening, district representatives and teachers from the Lawrence Education Association hashed out language that would be part of next year’s teacher contract.

More than a month ago, the teachers union asked for a $3,250 pay raise. The request would have kept in place the one-time $1,000 bonus given to teachers last year and added another $2,250 to that amount.

Instead, the district offered to give a permanent increase of $750 to all teachers and to allow teachers to move higher on the pay scale based on their years of service.

For those teachers who can still move up, the increase could range between $400 to $1,700. For teachers who have reached their maximum level on the pay scale, which is about 50 percent of them, there wouldn’t be any additional increase.

Lead negotiator David Reber, a Free State High School science teacher, said the boost is an improvement from what the district had offered earlier in the night.

“It’s getting better. But I don’t think we are there yet,” he said.  

The initial offer was to give teachers $750 across the board and then a one-time payment of $250. But it wouldn’t have allowed teachers to jump to the next level on the pay scale.

Under that scenario, the teachers union negotiating team said the pay increase was actually no increase all because it would only replace the $1,000 one-time payment teachers received last year.

“It means everyone is static,” said Elizabeth Gabel, a member of the negotiation team and a teacher at Southwest Middle School.

But school board member Bob Byers reminded the teachers that the district agreed to just that one-time payment last year.

“I hesitate on issues of one-time money because I know if we do it one time, it becomes permanent. One time was one time,” he said.

Reber told the board a contract that didn’t allow employees to move up on the pay scale would make it a hard sell to teachers.

“They see it as automatic and get pretty indignant when it doesn’t happen,” Reber said.  

After that conversation, the negotiation team returned with an offer that would allow teachers to move up the pay scale but take away the $250 one-time payment all teachers would receive.

The district’s proposal also would cover insurance premiums at a slightly higher rate, costing about $181,000 a year more, and include about $43,000 more for teachers who take on additional assignments or duties.  

Negotiations will resume June 6.


4getabouit 1 year, 10 months ago

Busing for student over 2.5 miles from school is mandated and reimbursed by the state Merrill. Wait for it......................................they have to do it bonehead. It's the law Ding Dong. They haven't provided bussing for families under the 2.5 threshold for years. And, the busing contract is always bid. Request the board minutes for the last bidding process. God your homework and show some degree of intelligence before making these claims. What a nimrod you are.


Flap Doodle 1 year, 10 months ago

Ya think anything has changed since that poll was taken 9 years ago, merrill? Time marches on. (from a source)


Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

As for the bond issue which I believe will be hard to pass. After all the former USD 497 BOE put taxpayers $20,000,000(million) in debt for the PLAY project(city hall wants millions more for PLAY).

The previous USD 497 boards did not put much effort into maintaining taxpayer owned property because some were hell bent on closing schools.

As for the bond issue which will be hard to pass I suggest this new USD 497 BOE get on with rehabilitating the taxpayer owned property with current available tax dollars that come to the capital outlay fund. Yes this will take longer. The poll below indicates this would be accptable:

It is unfortunate for the new BOE members who were dealth this deck of cards however getting it done should be our primary objective.

USD 497 Priorities:

Property Tax Increase? When so many in Lawrence have become unemployed?

Teacher Salary Support


Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Save $3 million on the bus program?

Something to think about as we must assume Brownback will reduce public school spending as he opens more local doors to tax dollar increases.

USD 497 budgets $4-4.5 million to bus students. The district is charged at a daily rate depending on how many students use the transportation.

Would parents be willing to find other means for getting students to school IF it meant keeping all the schools open,teachers employed and retaining important subject matter/programs?

Think car pooling,family members, The T ,walking and biking etc etc etc.

USD 497 said it needed $3 million in 2011. Are WE USD 497 taxpayers willing to come up with $3 million? Laying off teachers and/or killing a pay scale is not the answer.

Public school students use the T as we speak. Can the T provide service to some parents for less money? How many ways can the T assist USD 497 parents.

IF 75% of students were no longer bussed: 75% of $4,000,000 = $3,000,000 (million)

75% of $4,500,000 = $3,375,000

This bus service was not put out for bid to the best of my knowledge. Although the numbers were compared to what other districts were paying. Is this the best we can do?

Saving three million dollars annually on bus service may be necessary. It is my view obviously that this special committee must think about all financial avenues to produce the most fiscal responsible decision.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

How much money is in the USD 497 reserve fund? At one point it was near $28 million.

Ill managed public school districts are not good for business. Then again neither is Sam Brownback,Chamber of NOT Commerce which is represented by the executive leadership of the local real estate/builder/developer/banking industries.

Teachers in USD 497 represent more a labor of love than fair pay. Be glad some are able to hang in there.


nascar 1 year, 10 months ago

What the article doesn't say:

Due to a "One Way Participation Agreement" the district signed with the current health care provider there is a total of $905,000 available due to claims not being as high as predicted. That money was first offered as a one time payment but after a caucus the BOE team returned with the offer to put that money on the scale.

So let's see. The BOE is offering the teachers a raise that will, according to district administrators, cost $1.5 million, $905,000 of which they already had banked due to insurance money not paid out in claims. Seems cheap to this tax payer and future bond issue voter.

Has the BOE stopped to consider that the passage of a bond might just hinge on how well the second largest employer in the city takes care of its own?


ivalueamerica 1 year, 10 months ago

The USA continues to rank near dead last in most academic standings compared to other Western nations.

Our response, underfund education.

Stupid is as stupid does.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

Taxpayers 'pay' the most on the 'planet' for 'union education' of their 'children' and the 'kids' rank about 17th on the planet in many different scholastic subjects.

I think the 'kids' do rank highest for 'not' paying federal taxes after graduation. Around 50% is pretty good.

Congrats to the union.


Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

Why is the school district even talking to the union? Let the individual teachers negotiate their own wages based on their experience and record. Lock the unions out of the process.


pace 1 year, 10 months ago

Buzz word warning alert. Workers, teachers demanding pay for work. entitlement. Hog wash. If you don't ask they sure won't give it to you. Few bosses will give you what you are worth, unless you tell them. I have appreciated every raise, but I earn them, working aint' some welfare, it is work. Advise to grads. Ask for fair wage, don't listen to the ones who say, you should work for the honor (they usually got theirs) be a worth while employee. show up, do your job and do it professionally. If you have a job that doesn't pay you, do your job, do it well, and really look for another. They are out there. While we are on the subject, the next time I hear some wing nut say a veteran's GI benefits are welfare, I might slap them. It is a part of service pay, and boy do they earn it.
The interchangeable use of benefit with entitlement and the word welfare is criminal disrespect for our returning veterans.


Agnostick 1 year, 10 months ago

Reality Check: Teachers with national board certification can walk into most any classroom in the nation and start teaching right away, even as they wade through the licensing process in their new home state.

Teachers with NBPTS certification are the cream of the crop, and these will be among the first to consider going elsewhere.

You get what you pay for.


Eybea Opiner 1 year, 10 months ago

Yeah, and I don't get as much as I want either.


1 year, 10 months ago


All states, except IN, NC, CT, NY and RI exercise reciprocity with KS licensure. Granted, as bozo said, there are hoops through which a teacher must jump, but these are minor. Some states even accept the years experience in KS towards retirement. So that problem is not imaginary.

Your comment on the Blue Valley Schools is correct. Competition for those jobs is cut throat though.


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 10 months ago

As of 2007, when I last checked, Kansas ranked 34th in the US in average teacher pay. At the time Connecticut was first and Oklahoma last. At the time, in order for Kansas to move up to the top half (25th place) the average teacher pay would need to increase close to $5,000 per year. As for teachers leaving, since teacher licenses are issued by the state you can't easily just go teach in another state. That problem is imaginary. Very real however is the Blue Valley scenario where the best teachers in Lawrence are moving to the JoCo schools to get $5-10k per year raises. Lawrence public schools pay incredibly poor salaries relative to surrounding districts. Folks with children- remember, you get what you pay for!


LogicMan 1 year, 10 months ago

With the tax cuts being implemented on this coming January 1st, state tax revenues will plummet immediately. The gov will be forced to impose spending cuts. It's severely unwise to increase any state-funded spending now, but if the funds must be used, creatively bank them or use them to reduce future costs. Pay down debt or interest rates, improve energy efficiency, upgrade business equipment and processes, and so on.

Give one-time bonuses if you must (instead of raises or increases in benefits), but realize that more people will be nonrenewed as a result of throwing that money away instead of using it to reduce costs.

These next few years are going to hurt, badly. Kansas will be losing many good teachers and others as they leave for greener pastures.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

How does the people in government "determine" which union members 'deserve' a raise?

'Or' is this a case of government people 'taking care' of the union.


1 year, 10 months ago

@can't Education is performance-based. Unfortunately parents aren't included in the equation, which they should be.

@bozo Like I said on another thread, I know teachers who've left the profession because they can't afford to teach. I also know teachers who left Kansas to teach elsewhere for the same reason. Average beginning salary for a teacher in KS floats around $27K. This is 117% of the Federal Poverty Level for a family of 4. Give you a good idea of how the KS legislature looks at and supports education.


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 10 months ago

Be careful reading that pay range chart- some years, teachers are frozen on their placement on that scale, so a 'masters degree and 7 years experience' doesn't necessarily really equate to a masters and 7 years experience.


Keith Richards 1 year, 10 months ago

Google is an amazing thing jim.

Page 54 of the USD 497 master agreement.

The range is from $35,030 to $59,080. The highest of which requires a PhD and years of service.


jimincountry 1 year, 10 months ago

Be interesting to know the salary ranges.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

As soon as the recently passed tax cuts have to be paid for, it'll be teachers doing a good deal of the the paying. So instead of minuscule increases like this, there'll be dramatic cuts in pay and significant layoffs. Net effect-- the best teachers will be either leaving the profession, or the state, or both.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

They should feel lucky just to have a job. Until education becomes performanced based, nothing will get better. We will just keep throwing money at it hoping it will help. I would bet it is like most places, those who actually do the work are fine, it is the administration that has it all screwed up.


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