Teachers, district OK contract
Pact calls for average pay raise of 4.4 percent in 2005-2006 school year
Lansing The Lansing School Board and its teachers have ratified a contract that calls for an average 4.4 percent raise for its 120 teachers in the coming school year.
The board voted to ratify the contract at its meeting Monday; teachers had voted before school ended in May.
Both sides seemed pleased with the results of this year's negotiations.
"We worked really well as a team this year," said board president Shelly Gowdy, who was one of the negotiators for the board. Board member Keith Rickard was lead negotiator for the board.
Ron Averill, lead negotiator for Lansing Educational Association, the bargaining unit for teachers, said he was glad the contract was approved.
"I think we all felt pretty good about it," he said.
Gowdy and Averill both said the relationship between the board and the LEA had become less adversarial than in past years. Averill said both sides had received training on negotiating styles, which helped the discussions.
The raise will increase base pay for a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree by 3.5 percent. The base pay in 2004-05 was $29,750. Teacher pay is figured based on a scale of years of experience and level of education.
Gowdy said a few "steps" were added to the scale because some teachers were frozen in their position on the scale.
"They're being rewarded for longevity and because they're doing a fantastic job," Gowdy said.
Negotiations also included review of language in teachers' contracts. Averill said some language was cleaned up so it will be more easily understood.
Also approved on Monday were 4.4 percent raises for administration and classified staff, whose contracts are not negotiated.
Gowdy said the board had been trying to catch up those salaries in the past few years so they better compare with other districts in the area.
"Now we believe we've got everyone competitive," she said.