The Shawnee Mission School District has reached agreement with teachers on a new contract that provides an increase in the base salary for the first time in recent years. The salary schedule will include a 3.25 percent increase in the base for the 2014-15 school year.
The agreement between the district and the National Education Association of Shawnee Mission, representing Shawnee Mission teachers, also includes a step increase so teachers will receive more money for experience. Additionally, it allows for professional growth advancement which pays teachers more for increased levels of education. Combining all of the components should provide an average increase of 4.42 percent.
With the finance shortages that the district has faced in recent years, teachers have gone without base salary increases, but have received stipends so the salary schedule did not increase. This year’s education finance bill passed by the Kansas Legislature included the ability for the district to raise more money by increasing the local option budget, estimated to bring another $3.3 million to Shawnee Mission.
Last year, the agreement called for a one-time stipend of two percent of base pay and an additional contribution of health insurance, but no base increase. In 2010-2011, all salaries were frozen with no step increase. In 2011-2012, teachers received a $1,000 stipend, but no step increase or base increase (adjustment to the entire salary schedule). In 2012-2013, teachers received a step increase (allowed to move up a step on the schedule) and a two percent stipend, but no base increase. The salary schedule in the current contract starts at $39,240 for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience and ranges to $78,546 for a teacher with a doctorate and 26 years of experience.
Despite action by the legislature that removed a state requirement for due process for tenured teachers, the due process provision is still part of the Shawnee Mission contract. Shawnee Mission is one of the few districts that has included due process for probationary teachers as well.
The contract settlement also comes much earlier than last year when the new agreement was not reached until five days after the start of the school year. NEA-SM President Nancy Fritz credited Superintendent Jim Hinson with moving the negotiations forward so quickly.
“We are pleased to be able to provide an increase in base salary for our teachers for the first time since the 2009-2010 school year,” Hinson said in a statement. “The dedicated efforts of our teachers are essential to ensuring students succeed and this contract demonstrates the Shawnee Mission School District’s investment in teachers who are at the core of our work with students.”
“NEA-Shawnee Mission is excited to have a tentative agreement with the Board of Education and appreciate the expedient manner in which the collaborative agreement was reached,” said Fritz. “Shawnee Mission educators understand the district’s financial challenges and appreciate their willingness to provide a salary increase.”
The contract must still be ratified by the teachers and approved by the school board.