Decision day for Lowell.
A couple of interesting news stories about other area school districts and their budgets came across my desk.
One is about Issaquah and how they recalled 35 of 36 laid-off teachers (the 36 declined to return) and avoided the pay cuts to teachers' salaries by the Legislature. From the Sammamish Review story:
District teachers have the opportunity to earn back the 1.9 percent decrease in the state-salary schedule through an increase in their Professional Growth Incentive Fund and 10 available professional-development hours.
The measurement is the opposite of a furlough. Instead of working less for less pay, teachers will work more to keep their salaries stable.
The money paying for the salaries comes from a variety of sources, including voter-approved increased levy dollars, operational efficiencies, decreased nonclassroom service levels — such as streamlined bus routes — utilization of reserve funds, increased fees and other sources.
The Sammamish Review story comes from Lake Washington district and here's what they did:
The district has reached agreement with the Lake Washington Education Association, which represents the district’s teachers, to maintain current salaries despite a 1.9 percent cut in the state’s contributions to teacher pay.
That money will be made up in part by an estimated 10 cents per $1,000 in assessed value increase in the district’s maintenance and operations levy – money that had been approved by local voters but until recently had been limited by state school funding law.
So they used the law that lifted the levy lid (the same one that allowed SPS to have the Supplemental levy). Instead of having an election, they will just bump up property taxes from 26.8% to 28.6%. They also have a growing student population that is helping their bottom line.
They also have an extra school day added (two for teachers with one being a teacher workday). The district thinks parents will feel they are getting something for the extra taxes.
I don't think the district could raise the levy lid again since they had an election (but who knows?). Having teachers work more to avoid the salary loss might be another idea that is being negotiated but it's not like teachers aren't already working hard with more duties. Teachers, is it worth more work to keep that amount of salary or do you feel you are working at your max already?
What's on your mind?