Park City teachers will see bigger paychecks | ParkRecord.com

Park City teachers will see bigger paychecks

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

After a 10-month-long grueling process, Park City School District board members along with school district staff and teachers have reached a Licensed Compensation Agreement. The agreement funds step and lane increases but no across-the-board increase in teacher salaries. Park City School District Superintendent Ray Timothy said the agreement will cost the school district $1.5 million in new money, which is about what had been projected.

"The board anticipated this when they finalized the budget (earlier this year) and they balanced it without this being a part of the budget with the anticipation that this would be taken out of the fund balance," Timothy said.

New costs associated the agreement will take the fund balance from a $3.5 million to a $5 million deficit, which means that the school district is spending more than is coming in, according to Timothy. He said one goal is to eliminate that deficit next year.

On Dec. 5, two Licensed Compensation Negotiation teams, consisting of three district employees per team, presented the proposal to board members. Four out of five board members approved the proposal with Charles Cunningham dissenting. Teachers were then asked to vote for or against the proposal, according to Park City Education Association President Heidi Matthews, who said it passed easily as teachers were anxious to settle.

"Were very pleased for the resolution, but we’re not excessively celebrating," Matthews said. "It doesn’t represent anything significant. It’s just a continuation of what it has been. Bottom line is, people who see a step increase will see a step increase or a lane increase. But in terms of any compensation increase there isn’t any."

A step increase is based on teaching experience, according to Timothy, who said each year teachers are with the district they are eligible to move up on the teacher salary schedule. School board members agreed to fund steps in the licensed agreement, which will cost the school district $442,000 in new money for the 2011-2012 school year.

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Lane increases were also funded, which will cost the school district about $100,000. Teachers are eligible for lane increases as they gain more formal education, Timothy said, explaining that a teacher who obtains a master’s degree is are compensated more.

The Regional Housing and Travel Allowance will remain as a separate column on the salary schedule. This is a $1,200 stipend the school district pays its licensed and classified employees. Timothy said this is not new money, but a continuation of what the teachers have been receiving.

"We pay it to our employees for two reasons; one, if you live here it costs money and second, if you don’t live here and you have to commute, it costs more money," he said. "As a way to attract qualified teachers and keep them in the district, we pay them these stipends."

Embedded Staff Development will be increased from four to six days this year. This will cost the school district an additional $230,000. The school district sometimes requires teachers to attend professional development meetings during contract time, according to Timothy. He said the district wants to compensate the teachers for using prep time to meet these expectations.

"That requires more of their time out of contract to prepare for class," he said. "We’re compensating teachers for having to do prep work outside of contract time."

Teachers will also be compensated for professional development that takes place during their own time. Timothy said every teacher will be paid a daily rate of $208, which is a $108 increase over last year’s daily rate.

Health insurance will remain non-contributory, which means employees will not be responsible for insurance premiums, but will still have to pay deductibles and co-pays. The increased cost to the district will be $530,000, Timothy said.

The Licensed Compensation Agreement teams have agreed to re-evaluate the interest-based process and what that process will look like for next year. The process enabled board members and licensed employees to work together by presenting their requests while also keeping the needs of the opposing side in mind. Timothy said that both teams are hoping to settle on a contract for 2012-2013 by the end of this school year.

"Tough economic times make for tough negotiation times. Our employees want things to change regarding compensation and the board has to deal with balancing a budget and using taxpayers’ money wisely," he said.

According to Matthews, the biggest contributor to the delay in settlement was due to the assumptions about the agreed-upon interest-based negotiation process.

"There are only two board members who are trained in the interest-based process and that raised a problem," Matthews said. "In January we’ll have a committee made up of PCEA members, board and district representation, and we will come up with an agreement that we will adhere to."

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