Lakota contract approved (6-13-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD, Sentinel Education Editor   
Thursday, 13 June 2013 08:45
KANSAS - The Lakota Board of Education has approved a two-year contract with its teachers' union.
The board voted on the deal at its meeting Monday.
Members of the Lakota Education Association approved the contract June 3.
The new agreement will give teachers a 1.5-percent salary increase in each of the two years, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.
The raises will cost the district about $46,000 more each year for the 68 teachers covered, according to district Treasurer Jennifer Hedrick, who was a member of the board's negotiating team.
The contract also will create a wellness program that, if successfully completed, could lower the teacher's insurance contribution, she added.
Such a program is not currently in place; there will be a committee established by June 2014 to develop the criteria, Hedrick explained. Consequently, no insurance reductions will take place the first year of the contract, she added.
Once a teacher successfully completes the program criteria, they will have a 5-percent reduction in their insurance cost.
Currently, the district offers two insurance options: Anyone hired after July 1, 2011 pays 10 percent of their insurance cost while the board pays 90 percent. In the second year of the contract, teachers will pay 15 percent while the board picks up 85 percent.
But if the staff member completes a wellness program, the share will fall back to 10 percent.
The second option is for anyone hired prior to July 1, 2011. They can enroll in the first plan or enroll in a plan with a smaller deductible that caps the board's share so any premium increase is paid by the employee, Hedrick said.
Negotiations "went very well," said union President Dave Garner.
After three or four rounds of negotiations, Garner said this time it was much easier.
He accredited that to Superintendent David Danhoff who "worked with us really well."
The vote to approve the contract was unanimous, Garner said.
"We're happy with the contract," he said.
In the previous two-year contract, teachers received a 1-percent raise in the first year, but nothing in the second year, and it also included insurance concessions, Hedrick said.
The raises this time are because "the economy is starting to rebound," she explained.
She expects the district's 1.5-percent income tax will continue to grow, as will property tax collections.
However, "we're not expecting our (state) foundation to increase," she said.
Negotiations were completed in one day. "It went very well. We were very pleased with how negotiations went this year."
The new contract also includes changes to the district's teacher evaluation system as well as wording in its new teacher mentoring system.
Also at the meeting, the board:
•    Set lunch fees for the 2013-14 school year at $2 for grades K-4, $2.25 for 5-12, $2.50 for adults, $1.25 for breakfast and 0.50 for milk.
•    Accepted the retirement request from head custodian David Gump, effective June 31.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 June 2013 08:55

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