USD 232 school board, De Soto Teachers’ Association reach salary agreement

The USD 232 Board of Education and the De Soto Teachers’ Association have settled on a professional negotiated agreement for the new school year. The agreement lays out the terms

The USD 232 Board of Education and the De Soto Teachers’ Association have settled on a professional negotiated agreement for the new school year.

The agreement lays out the terms of employment for teachers, including compensation, salary schedule and the expected number of hours for the professional work day for the 2020-2021 school year. It also covers compensation packages for district employees not covered by the agreement.

The USD 232 school board unanimously approved the agreement and district staff said the negotiations process was positive and professional.

“We’re able to identify important issues, important issues to teachers, important issues to the district and, working together, reach a reasonable agreement,” said Alvie Cater, district spokesperson. “It was a pleasure to work with our team for the board of education, but also the team representing the teachers.”

Jeff Wieland, lead negotiator for De Soto Teachers Association and teacher at Mill Valley High, echoed some of Cater’s comments.

“I felt that we certainly don’t agree on every issue, but I feel like the processes have become something that we look forward to, and I think we are working more in partnership,” Wieland said.

The new professional negotiated agreement, particularly in the area of compensation, includes following:

  • Adds $500 on teachers’ base pay
  • Allows for both horizontal and vertical movement on salary schedule
  • Average salary increase is about 2.44%
  • Specific teachers’ pay increases depend on the teachers’ individual placements within the salary schedule
  • Total compensation package (including taxes, health insurance and other benefits) represents increase of 3.5%

District staff and representatives of the teachers association said they reached a tentative agreement on July 31. Wieland noted that 98% of DTA’s 426 teachers represented by the association shared support for the agreement.

“We have seen a commitment, particularly when it comes to compensation, with looking at opening up the books… trying to figure out how we can remain competitive,” Wieland added. “We’ve seen that commitment from the board, we’ve seen that commitment from the district administration, and we know that the money is not always there as much as we’d always like, but we do appreciate the fact that we all seem to share that same goal.”

The compensation packages for district employees not covered by the professional negotiated agreement include an increase in the base salary by an average of 2.44% for each employee within established salary ranges for each employee group, and 1% for employees outside of the established range.