Archive for Thursday, June 13, 2013

Teachers reach contract agreement with Lawrence district

June 13, 2013


The Lawrence school district and the local teachers union reached a tentative agreement this week on a new contract that would give members an average 3 percent pay increase next year.

District officials said the package includes pay raises averaging $1,381 per year for each employee covered by the contract. That includes across-the-board increases in base pay plus funding of “step” increases for years of experience and for additional degrees or college credit.

“I think both sides are fairly pleased with the way things turned out and what we were able to agree on,” said David Reber, a member of the union negotiating team and a science teacher at Free State High School.

In addition to the salary boost, Reber said the contract calls for the district to absorb an estimated 7 percent increase in health insurance premiums for individual employees. Those premiums are scheduled to increase $24.38 per month.

Other elements include a $1-per-hour increase in extra-duty pay for teachers who do additional work beyond the regular school day, a $5-per-month increase in the district’s contributions to 403(b) retirement savings plans and agreement on a new evaluation system that will rate teachers’ performance based in part on student growth and achievement.

District officials said the cost of all the enhancements would add up to $1.8 million.

“Despite the Kansas Legislature’s decision to not increase base state aid for K-12 schools next year, the Lawrence Board of Education is making a concerted effort to improve employee salaries and benefits,” said Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent of business and operations. “The district will utilize reserve funds to reward teachers and staff for their outstanding efforts to support student achievement.”

Reber said the contract still needs to be ratified by members of the collective bargaining unit. He said ballots will be mailed out to members soon, and various places will be made available in the district where members can return their marked ballots.

The Lawrence school board is expected to vote on the contract at its next meeting June 24.

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  • Comments

    collaborator 10 months ago

    Aside from the argument over whether this negotiated raise is merited or not, has anyone wondered how the cost of this 3% raise will be sustained in future budget years? This was taken from the district's reserves (aka emergency contingency funds). What will happen next year and the following years if state revenues stay flat or decrease (quite likely)? What happens if district enrollment numbers take a dip? Will the district once again dip into reserves for the $1.8 million (or more) to sustain this salary increase? Or will they be forced to seek $1.8 million or more in cuts to the regular operating budget?

    All who work in public education deserve fair pay for their work. This agreement, however, seems to make no plan for future funding. What sounds like a great deal for the taxpayers (no new taxes for the pay increase) may backfire next year. Barring an increase in state revenue or the number of district FTE students in future years, the district's savings will continue to take a hit for this agreement. Lack of forward planning should be a part of this discussion.


    Richard Heckler 10 months ago

    Well deserved and necessary!


    George Lippencott 10 months ago

    That seems like a lot of negotiation and a very uncertain salary structure.


    Brad Greenwood 10 months, 1 week ago

    The 8 years is an estimate. Starting employees are placed on the scale (usually) at the base, and each year (or so... this method changed a few years back) we're moved up to the next level which means a little more money. This continues until you max out on experience, which took me 8 years in the district to reach (that's where the 8 came from). So for employees like me, the only way I get a raise is either through negotiations or by taking additional graduate hours. (Which, if you take them at KU, it's not worth the pay increase because tuition is ridiculous.)


    Brad Greenwood 10 months, 1 week ago

    There is no built in cost of living increase. The matrix that determines how teachers are paid (educational background and teaching experience and years served, etc...) is fixed at definite amounts and doesn't change unless it goes through negotiations like this. In years where there was no money added to the matrix, and if you had already been in the district for about 8 years, the only way you could get more money was to take more graduate hours (which costs a lot!). No adjustment was made for cost of living. Hope that helps.


    George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

    Would some knowledgeable person comment. Is this three percent (actually a bit more) a cost of living increase or in addition to an already built in cost of living increase?


    Lefty54 10 months, 1 week ago

    A lot of people don't understand how much teachers work. My wife is a teacher and works from 7:00 am to at least 5:30 pm 5 days a week. Then she goes in on Sunday afternoons to prepare for the week ahead. Required staff meetings before and after school. Help team meetings, SAT team meetings, IEP meetings, conferences with parents. And then classes in June and July to stay licensed.
    This crazy 3 months off talk is from ignorant people who don't know what teachers do.


    avaholic 10 months, 1 week ago

    I love reading the comments in the LJWorld. It always makes me laugh.


    purplesage 10 months, 1 week ago

    As a matter of fact, to satisfy KRichards, I did take a pay cut - of 50%. And I have had no raise in over 5 years.

    Having served on a school board, some of you who talk as though you understand this, don't. "Funds in place" are tax dollars, collected as the result of already levied taxes. If there are increases each year, rolled into the base, increases are granted on the increases. And that makes the levying of higher taxes necessary.

    Teaching is not as poorly paid as it once was and as the teacher's unions want us to perceive their profession to be. And of course, there is summer . . . during which there is freedom to work on advanced degrees, on another job, or on not much at all. And 85 and out retirement. And health insurance that really pays for something. Folks, it isn't a bad deal.

    I just wonder if there's anything left for the non-certified staff? You know, the ones working for subsistence wages.


    tomatogrower 10 months, 1 week ago

    Maybe in the private sector for those in management there is some chance of making more money, because you are more productive, but for the workers there is usually a beginning pay rate that is the same for everyone, then your pay goes up after a certain period, and yes, the better workers get the raise earlier, but in the end there is a maximum pay after a certain period of time. The better worker gets to that point a little faster than the lazy worker, but in the end they are making the same pay. So the lazy worker does just what he needs to do to keep his/her job and the hard worker mostly will continue to do a good job, only because he/she has some pride. Yes, maybe there will be a promotion to a management position, but it's not always guaranteed to go to the hard worker. If the lazy worker kisses the right behinds, they will get the promotion. I've lived over 60 years now, and have not seen any "merit pay" in private industry, so why should it be in schools? Conservatives talk about merit pay for teachers, but then defend huge bonuses for CEO's who bankrupt a company. Sounds pretty hypocritical to me.


    smileydog 10 months, 1 week ago

    Is the $37,000 per year starting pay really true? That's $4111 per working month


    Tradways 10 months, 1 week ago

    As a state employee I've had pay cut by 3% with no raise for the past 5 years with the same required education. Oh by the way 1/2 my dept's budget does not come from taxes. What the legislatures spent on the renovation of the capital would have funded us for 3 years.


    Lefty54 10 months, 1 week ago

    Sounds like a nice deal for everyone. Glad the teachers are getting a well deserved raise after being frozen for a long time.


    John Kyle 10 months, 1 week ago

    Is a coincidence that the posters here who hate teachers are also the most ignorant?


    Keith Richards 10 months, 1 week ago

    Well deserved. Very nice to have an agreement early in the summer.


    Currahee 10 months, 1 week ago

    Everyone keeps demanding more... more... more... why never less? Have your raises. I expect a 3% productivity improvement.


    skull 10 months, 1 week ago

    3%!!!! Oh the humanity. That'll keep up with inflation!


    toe 10 months, 1 week ago

    Teachers did very well prying more money out of the taxpayers. A 3 percent raise on their lavish salaries is going to pay a lot of sales and property taxes.


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