June 6, 2009

Board, teachers still at odds over salaries

Board, teachers still at odds over salaries

By JILL DENNING GACKLE
It was poised to be a decisive week for the Garrison school district.
But after two meetings with teachers and then administrators the board wasn’t any closer to issuing contracts to teachers or administrators. The board will talk about faculty salaries again Tuesday. A negotiations meeting with teachers is set for June 22.
Teachers rejected the board’s offer Monday of moving a starting teacher salary from $26,000 to $27,500 next year and to $29,000 - 29,500 the second year.
The district agreed to give a $2,100 increase (a 6.4 percent average increase) to each teacher next year and $2,500 (7.1 percent) the following year.
“We went significantly past what we did in previous years,” said Gary Thune, an attorney hired to conduct the negotiations with teachers. He said the average increase in previous years was about $1,300.
The increase would bring the average teacher base pay next year from $33,00 to $35,100 the following year. The increase would cost the district about $290,700, Thune estimated.
Dan Splichal, lead negotiator for the teachers, said, “We’re very disappointed that the board came back with a dollar amount rather than a percentage.”
The teachers rejected the pay proposal offered and instead stuck with their earlier pay proposal: 6.5 percent for the first year and 8 percent for the following year.
“We thought we came in with a really reasonable proposal,” Splichal said. “I would hope the board would consider our proposal … it’s fair to all the teachers who are on staff.”
Splichal said the board’s proposal would reward first year teachers with a 7.5 percent increase and veteran teachers a 4.3 percent increase. The next year the increase would be 8.9 percent more for new teachers and a 5.1 percent hike for veteran teachers.
Splichal said salaries need to be increased to keep teachers in the district.
 


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