Archive for Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Teachers union and district go back and forth on pay raises, work schedules

Representatives of the Lawrence Education Association, the school district's teachers union, meet with district leaders as part of teacher contract negotiations on Monday, May 16, 2016. David Reber, center left, is the lead negotiator for the union.

Representatives of the Lawrence Education Association, the school district's teachers union, meet with district leaders as part of teacher contract negotiations on Monday, May 16, 2016. David Reber, center left, is the lead negotiator for the union.

June 7, 2016

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After nearly six hours of negotiations, representatives with the Lawrence school district and its teachers union were not able to agree on changes to the district's teacher contract.

Teacher salary increases, limits to teachers' work day and additional planning time for elementary teachers were all sticking points in the discussion, with negotiators from both sides making multiple proposals and counter proposals.

Tuesday's meeting was the fifth between district leaders and negotiations for the union, the Lawrence Education Association.

Last month, the LEA proposed to raise every teacher's base pay by $250 per year, in addition to funding regular pay increases for additional years of experience and college degrees. On Tuesday, district leaders initially responded by proposing only raises for additional college degrees, or “horizontal increases," and a $400 uniform increase in base pay for all teachers.

Related document

USD 497 teacher salary schedule ( .PDF )

The proposal was presented by Anna Stubblefield, director of human resources and lead negotiator for the district. It would cost about $563,000 to fund the proposal, which would amount to a 1.1 percent pay increase. The proposal said that Lawrence school board prefers a base pay increase of $400 "so all teachers receive a more uniform increase in compensation and the salary schedule is improved for competitive hiring purposes."

But David Reber, lead negotiator for LEA, said increasing base pay by $400 while not also funding raises or “vertical increases” for additional years of service shortchanges teachers much more income in the long run.

“If you don’t move one year it doesn’t just affect that year,” Reber said. “Then you’re one step behind where you would have been for the next maybe dozen years”

For instance, under the current salary schedule, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree would receive a starting salary of $37,630. If vertical increases were fully funded each year, that teacher would be making $45,505 after 13 years of service.

The district amended its proposal, offering one of two options: to fund both horizontal and vertical raises and a $100 raise in base pay for all teachers, or only horizontal raises and a $600 raise in base pay. The LEA indicated they would prefer the former offer, but a final decision will not be made until the next negotiations meeting.

Negotiators also went back and forth over limits to teachers’ hours or “duty day” and the ability to make changes to those schedules. Negotiators for both sides indicated they would agree to add two days for planning time for elementary teachers.

Any proposed changes to the teacher contract are not final until negotiations are complete. Contract negotiations will continue at noon June 28 at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

Comments

David Reber 1 year, 4 months ago

Actually, salary is not a sticking point. Both sides agreed to vertical and horizontal movement on the schedule, plus $100 increase in base pay. (And to be clear, that $100 is not bi-weekly or monthly, but annual. Or, about $8.34 per month).

The only real sticking point right now has to do with daily work schedules. This is a mandatorily negotiable topic under state law, and the district is seeking language to allow changes without negotiating them.

Nick Gerik 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks for the comment, David. We've changed the headline to better reflect the story, which already noted the amended proposal you mentioned above.

— Nick Gerik, LJW digital editor

Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

"starting salary of $37,630. If vertical increases were fully funded each year, that teacher would be making $45,505 after 13 years of service."

Neither salary is reasonable = way too low. USD 497 needs some new access to money.

Starting salaries should be at $45,505 and climb to $64,500 in five years. Then 5 years later review for additional increases.

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

Of 5,198 votes increasing teacher salaries 4,204 votes in favor of increased teacher salaries. 80% of 5198 votes said yes to a sales tax increase to support teaching salaries.

http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

Bob Smith 1 year, 4 months ago

Richard, things might have changed in the 13 years since that poll was taken.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

One way to find out ..... isn't there?

I was a bit stunned that 5,198 voters participated which provided concrete like substance to this matter.

Then again there was a ton of grass roots activity at that moment in time yes with a lot taxpayers marching on downtown Mass in the effort to save neighborhood schools. Teacher salaries were a major concern as well.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Sam Brownback declares war on Kansas: This is how extremists gut a state — and democracy

The ultraconservatives take control, with an assist to ALEC and no concern for the people!

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/12/sam_brownback_declares_war_on_kansas_this_is_how_extremists_gut_a_state_and_democracy/

Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Sam Brownback is calling back legislators to block the court from doing anything ..... legal or not.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

The legislature will remain in contempt of court and negligent. There will be no resolution.

Bob Forer 1 year, 4 months ago

The teachers in our community are underpaid.

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