Board boosts teachers’ pay
In a move district officials said would make De Soto competitive with other Johnson County school districts, the De Soto school board approved a contract that gives all district teachers a $2,200 salary increase for each of the next two school years.
The action came during the same meeting that saw the board approve a salary increase for Superintendent Marilyn Layman that will increase her compensation from 5 to 8 percent during the coming school year, depending on the size of next fall's enrollment increase.
The two-year teachers' contract, which the board approved Monday, will increase salaries by 6.76 percent for each of the next two years and the teachers' total benefit package by 8 percent. The contract will increase the district's teacher compensation budget by $720,000 in the 2001-2002 school year and $777,100 in 2002-2003.
Board President Jim Plummer and Layman said the new contract would help the district retain teachers by offering salaries competitive with those offered in Shawnee Mission, Olathe and Blue Valley school districts.
"We've been working to do this in negotiations for a long time," Plummer said. "It's very satisfying to get it accomplished."
District teachers approved the contract by a 174-35 vote. In a departure from past contracts, the two-year deal eliminates the practice of indexing salary increases to length of service and continuing education, Bill Gilhaus, assistant superintendent of human resources, said. During the contract's two-year term, teachers will continue to get added compensation for education they receive but not for length of service to the district.
Other provisions in the contract will:
Increase the district's base salary to $28,040 in 2001-2002 and $30,240 in 2002-2003.
Add another contract day to the 2001-2002 year that will be used for in-service. In the contract's second year, half of the extra day will be used for classroom teaching and half for in-service hours.
Gilhaus said the contract's benefits may have been demonstrated this spring. The district lost only two teachers to other Johnson County districts this year, he said.
The district is a young one with young teachers, and that demographic challenges the school system, Gilhaus said. The trend will continue. Gilhaus said 25 of the 54 newly-hired teachers will be first-year teachers.
Most of the teachers who are not returning next year are leaving for reasons associated with their relative youth, Gilhaus said. The teachers left because they were either new mothers who decided to stay home to raise their children or young people who decided to relocate elsewhere or were forced to leave because employers transferred their spouses.
The board again extended Layman's three-year contract by one year in January. Monday, the board approved the superintendent's compensation contract for the 2001-2002 school year, subject to review by Layman's attorney.
The package guarantees the superintendent a 5-percent salary increase from her current $96,636 salary. Layman would also be in line to receive a one-percent increase for each percentage point the district's fall enrollment exceeds projections. The enrollment growth provision will be capped at 3 percent.
Board member Sandy Thierer said the superintendent's raise was in line with those offered district teachers.
In addition, Layman will receive a $2,500 health and wellness stipend to use at her discretion and a one-week sabbatical, Thierer said.