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Archive for Monday, June 24, 2013

School board approves pay raises for teachers and other employees

June 24, 2013

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With little fanfare and almost no discussion, the Lawrence school board on Monday approved a new contract that will give teachers and other certified personnel an average 3-percent pay raise next year.

The board also approved similar enhancements for administrators and classified staff including secretaries, janitors, cafeteria workers and other non-licensed employees.

Combined, those changes are expected to add $2.8 million to the district's personnel costs next year, most of which is expected to come from spending down the district's cash balances.

"All of the wages and benefits for all the employee groups before you tonight, going to that $2.8 million, does dip into the reserve funds and goes beyond the new state funding that we are getting from the state next year," assistant superintendent Kyle Hayden told the board.

Under the contract with the Lawrence Education Association, the average total pay increase will be $1,381 per year. That includes a permanent $800 increase in base pay, plus funding for movement on the pay scale for additional years of experience and additional college credit.

That's slightly more generous than the $750 base pay increase the board approved last year. The year before that, however, the district gave a one-time $1,000 bonus to all teachers, but no permanent increase in the pay scale.

In addition, the contract calls on the district to absorb a 7-percent increase in health insurance premiums for individuals, estimated to cost just over $272,000.

It also includes a $5 per month increase in the district's contribution to employees' 403(b) retirement contribution plans, and slight increases in pay for extra duty and certain additional assignments.

Hayden said the package for administrators and classified staff is similar, but the money for pay raises is put into a pool and distributed by the administration based on wage surveys and the need to attract applicants into hard-to-fill positions.

Hayden said the most likely source of funding for the pay raises would be to spend down some of the money in the district's contingency reserve fund.

Typically, he said, the district tries to keep about $6.5 million in that fund, or about 10 percent of the district's general fund budget.

"We tried to be very purposeful this year when looking at our budget planning, and working through that process, and recognizing that there are certain funds that had dollars that need to be spent, and funds that were available and needed to be tapped into," Hayden said.

During a budget briefing earlier in the meeting, Hayden outlined some of the budget issues the board will face in August when it finalizes the budget for the next year.

Although the Kansas Legislature did not approve any increase in base per pupil aid for the upcoming year, Hayden said the Lawrence district will see some increase in state funding next year due to enrollment growth. But it will also see even greater increased costs due to that growth.

Overall, not counting the wage and benefit increases, he said the district expects to incur $2.2 million in new costs next year. That will be offset by about $2.6 million in new funding and reallocation of existing resources.

Comments

David Holroyd 1 year, 5 months ago

So tey send cash reserves, how do they pant to cover the increase the next year? Higher taxes ?

question4u 1 year, 5 months ago

It will certainly not be a surprise to anyone if local taxes are raised next year. From the beginning it has been obvious that cuts to education funding at the state level have to be compensated for at the local level. Brownback's tax cut is a tax shift. That has been said over and over again, but it's good to see that it's finally sinking in. Yes, you can thank Brownback and the Legislature when your property taxes rise.

verity 1 year, 5 months ago

Too many people not really paying attention and all they hear is "lower taxes." When the higher property taxes arrive, there is going to be a lot of outrage.

gr 1 year, 5 months ago

No, thank your local city and school board.

Poor choices. Poor plans.

Vote accordingly.

gr 1 year, 5 months ago

But we can't afford any more tax increases. We chose to get a new library! It's all a matter of priorities. A new library is more important than kids.

Vote early, vote often.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 5 months ago

Well you know kids do use the library, in fact some parents encourage them to do so from an early age. The library has some excellent resources for young children and teens that carry over into how they perform at school.

chootspa 1 year, 5 months ago

We chose to get a new library back when we had a governor and legislature that thought education was worth funding.

gr 1 year, 5 months ago

Would you then be saying it was poor planning on the part of the city? But no one pays for those mistakes or are held accountable other than the people - the voters.

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