Teacher negotiations complete | ParkRecord.com

Teacher negotiations complete

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Some teachers in the Park City School District will see their paychecks increase next year with the approval of step-and-lane pay hikes and more money for their professional development.

The Park City Board of Education on June 2 approved a new compensation contract and professional agreement for the 2010-11 school year.

"That pays teachers for their years of experience and additional college courses that they may take," Park City School District Superintendent Ray Timothy said.

The new teacher contract also includes compensation next year for about 32 hours of professional development time per teacher. They will also have the option to receive payment for an additional 16 hours of professional development.

"Board members wanted to build into the budget a way to provide professional development so that our teachers could continue to enhance their skills and improve on their instructional abilities," Timothy said.

The state Legislature eliminated the funding districts received for professional development.

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"We have zero state dollars coming in for professional development," Timothy said. "In my opinion, one of the best outcomes of the negotiations was a way to reinstate the professional development that we need for our teachers."

"We are really adding additional responsibilities without additional compensation. There are several initiatives that are moving forward that really require a lot of training and a lot of investment of the teachers’ time," he added.

Dipping into the district’s rainy-day fund allowed officials to reinstate the professional-development pay without increasing taxes, he said.

"One of the easy things we could have done was to raise taxes, but this is not a time to be doing that," Timothy said. "We have been building up a sufficient reserve and in a time when the economy is at a record low, it is not a time to have your record fund balances in place."

Park City Education Association President Heidi Matthews characterized the negotiations between the district and teachers union as positive.

"There was recognition that there was quite a bit of demand for professional development," Matthews said in a telephone interview. "We came up with the concept of four days of value for professional development."

But students will not be released from school for days devoted only to professional development for teachers.

"We’ve actually redesigned the model," Timothy said. "The new, embedded professional development can be done during the day, on a regular basis, and it’s not built into the calendar as a day when students are

out of school."

Meanwhile, district officials agreed to cover the inflationary costs of health insurance. Park City School District employees will still not be required to pay their health insurance premiums. Taxpayers will foot that bill.

Matthews said she is pleased with next year’s contract.

"It is definitely a step in the right direction," she said.

The negotiating team was comprised of three district officials and three representatives from the teachers union.

"It has turned out very positively, especially considering the economy right now," said Lisa Kirchenheiter, a member of the Park City Board of Education.

Board member Mo Hickey said he is "very happy" with the contract.

"I think the negotiation teams from both sides were reasonable and professional and did a great job," Hickey said.

Contract negotiations were ongoing this week with the district’s administrative and classified employees, according to Hickey.

A hearing is slated June 15 for the Park City Board of Education to consider next year’s budget. The hearing is scheduled at 6 p.m. at the district office, 2700 Kearns Boulevard.

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