Topeka USD 501 Board of Education Approves Teacher Salary Increases
Topeka USD 501 staff will see larger paychecks this school year, but the amount will be determined by each staff member’s classification.
The Topeka Board of Education on Thursday approved the ratified and negotiated agreement with the Topeka Chapter of the National Education Association Teachers’ Union.
While exact pay rates will vary between teachers with different years of experience and qualifications, the deal will result in an overall 3.1% increase in teachers’ pay and benefits.
Each stage of the deal will increase by $500, with a Topeka teacher’s starting salary of $501 even rising to $46,000 in 2022-23.
Jeremy Gibson, president of NEA Topeka, said he was very pleased with the agreement, which took four days of negotiation at the end of the summer. Besides pay, he said one of the highlights of the new deal was the capping of health insurance premium increases for the next three years, which should reassure teachers.
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Other staff at $501 will see similar increases
He declined to share exact numbers, but said NEA Topeka members overwhelmingly ratified the deal within the first few weeks of school. While the deal doesn’t necessarily follow a spike in inflation, he said people need to remember how public schools are funded.
“You have to understand that education is publicly funded,” he said. “Everything has gone up, and the district has a budget that’s set.”
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Other staff, whose contracts and benefits are usually modeled on the deal negotiated with teachers, saw similar increases. Administrators will all receive pay increases of approximately $1,000, while classified personnel will all receive a pay increase of at least 48 cents an hour or $1,000 if paid on a wage rate of 12 months.
Council vice-chairman Sue Bolley, who was not on the district’s bargaining team but was involved in the negotiations, said the council was pleased to give staff a raise.
“We really value our employees and we really want them to know how much we value them,” she said. “Everyone on the trading team has been looking very hard to find the money, even though we are losing money due to (lower) signups. We really appreciate our staff and wanted to let them know. “
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Separate increases to the retention and recruitment plan
The salary increase is in addition to and separate from a $501 Topeka retention and recruitment incentive program announced in August.
Under the program, frontline staff — or most staff working directly with children — can receive up to $8,000, divided into four installments, for meeting or exceeding 95% school attendance each year. trimester. Non-frontline staff, such as district administrators, are eligible for a total of $6,000 between four payments.
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The program has faced criticism from staff and community members who have argued that the $20 million program, funded by federal COVID-19 relief funds, could introduce moral hazard in inadvertently urging staff to attend school while ill.
Rafael Garcia is an education reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 785-289-5325. Follow him on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.