Teachers approve new contract with district | SummitDaily.com

Teachers approve new contract with district

by Reid Williams

Comparing school district’s pay for teachers

Summit Eagle Denver Boulder

School year (days) 181 183 190 187

Day length (hrs) 7.75 8 8 7

Base pay $28,747 $30,000 $31,320 $29,214

Master’s $33,921 $33,300 $31,779 $31,551

* Eagle and Denver teacher salaries are for the 2001-02 school year and subject to renegotiation. Boulder teacher salaries are for 2002-03.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit teachers overwhelmingly approved a new contract with the school district, giving themselves substantial pay raises and taking on four more work days each school year.

Summit County Education Association members accepted the three-year master contract, voting 127 to 2 in formal ballot-taking Monday and absentee voting Tuesday. The association represents teachers in negotiating the contract, mediating disputes with administration and provides professional development resources. Seventy-six percent of the association members voted on the revised contract. (there are approximately 240 teachers in the school district.)

“We recommended that the teachers ratify the contract,” said association president Joel Hecht. “I think most teachers were happy to do away with the two-tiered salary schedule.”

The new contract eliminates a three-year probationary period for beginning teachers and would raise the base pay for all teachers to $28,747 next year. The base would rise to $29,753 for the 2003-04 school year, and would reach $30,943 the following year.

The revised contract also would add four days to the school calendar – two classroom days, one day for professional development and one non-teaching work day. Teachers would work 181, 7.75-hour days under the new contract.

Because of the elimination of the probationary salary category, and because of built-in pay incentives for continued education and experience, the benefits for teachers range from 5 percent increases to more than 20 percent. Some examples:

n Example 1: Two years experience, plus 20 quarter hours of education

This year: $26,945

New contract: $33,059 (22.7 percent increase)

New contract, plus maximum annual 10 credits: $33,921 (25.9 percent increase)

n Example 2: Six years experience, plus 50 quarter hours

This year: $36,477

New contract: $39,096 (7 percent increase)

New contract, plus 10 credits: $39,958 (9.5 percent increase)

n Example 3: Sixteen years experience, plus 100 quarter hours

This year: $48,818

New contract: $52,032 (6.6 percent increase)

New contract, plus 10 quarter hours: $52,894 (8.4 percent increase)

Teachers at the lower end of the salary schedule would benefit most from the changes. Forty-three percent of the district’s teachers are in their first three years with Summit schools.

“There are still some, though, who worry about the district’s ability to attract and retain quality teachers,” Hecht said. “Looking at the pay in other districts, this is a concern.”

The contract includes clauses for re-opening negotiations, for instance, if inflation or the cost-of-living increase faster than expected. District and teacher negotiators already have indicated they will continue to discuss issues such as time for faculty collaboration, defining conditions for personal leave and granting new teachers credit for past experience.

The Summit School Board unanimously approved the contract April 24. Superintendent Wes Smith said a committee of teachers and board members will take the ratified contract points and translate them into legalese, likely once school has closed for the year.

“I’m happy to hear they approved it, and really pleased by the overwhelming support,” Smith said. “This was a time for addressing the needs of our newer, and generally younger, teachers – helping them deal with the costs up here. I think this represents the needs of our teachers and the wishes of the community.”

In November, Summit County voters approved a $10 million mill levy increase for the school district. About $1 million of the increased property tax collections were earmarked for raising teacher salaries and adding days to the school calendar.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.

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