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Archive for Friday, August 23, 2013

Lawrence teachers ratify contract

August 23, 2013

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Lawrence school district teachers formally ratified a new labor contract this week that includes pay and benefit increases as well as a new evaluation system that ties teacher performance ratings to student achievement.

Officials from the Lawrence Education Association, which represents local teachers in collective bargaining, said the final ballots were received late last week and the vote totals were certified this week.

The announcement was a formality in some respects because the Lawrence school board voted last month to approve a budget for the 2013-14 school year that included funding for the pay raises.

Still, union officials said they were pleased with the results.

"Yes, I was pleased with the number of votes," said Charlotte Anderson, this year's president of the LEA. "I think the LEA building reps are the ones that get the credit for distributing and collecting ballots at each school. Also, of course our negotiations committee that did the work."

The LEA represents more than 900 certified staff in the Lawrence district. Anderson said that more than 800 ballots were cast in the ratification vote.

David Reber, a biology teacher at Free State High School and a member of the negotiating committee, declined to release the exact vote tally, but said the votes were "overwhelmingly" in favor of the new contract.

The contract provides an increase in base pay plus funding for step increases on the salary scale, for an average increase of $1,381 a year. The contract also calls for the district to absorb the increased cost of employee health insurance, and it provides a slight increase in pay for teachers who perform additional duties such as sponsoring after-school events and programs.

District officials earlier estimated the cost of those enhancements at $1.8 million.

In addition, the contract calls for implementation of a new teacher evaluation system which will, for the first time, include student growth and performance as part of the evaluation system.

All school districts in Kansas are now required to adopt such evaluation systems as a condition for the state receiving a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The school board also approved comparable pay and benefit increases for administrators and classified staff in the district.

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  • Comments

    Cauac 8 months ago

    Weatherwatcher’s misunderstanding is perpetuated by sources like the Journal World, or at least their editorial writer. At least for operating expenses they don’t understand how school finance works. In their mind, if teacher salaries go up, then the board must have increased taxes. In reality the district gets a relatively fixed amount, and the board just decides how to divide it up. You can’t apply city and county taxes and spending to schools because they are fundamentally different.

    So KSM is quite right and WW is quite wrong.

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    neworleans 8 months ago

    Just rent; and shack...............

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    Weather_Watcher 8 months ago

    And what a nice taxpayer I am to have provided the teachers with a raise and all the various other tax supported employees from DC on down.

    Oh and all the utility companies also have had rate increases.

    Wonder if I need to now go plant another money tree or two as I'm pretty sure the ones I have will not cover all these increased costs.

    Just makes it ever more difficult for a retired person to stay in Lawrence and to continue to live in a home they have already paid for.

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