Negotiations in Lawrence

Talking pay in USD 497 Lawrence:

LEA [union] negotiators have suggested adding $2.1 million into the salary schedule. Kelly Barker, a Southwest Junior High School teacher and LEA’s lead negotiator, said the offer would keep pace with districts in Johnson County and Topeka. The offer is based on an $1,800 raise for a teacher who has served 15 years and has a master’s degree plus 10 more credit hours. … District negotiators last offered about $1.4 million.

So what’s the right salary for a teacher? It’s really hard to tell:

District negotiators say its current early retirement package places it above market.

But what is the market? Other school districts. But school districts are not like your standard business. The salary of people in a normal professional office–doctor, lawyer, architect, and so forth–is based on what voluntary buyers willingly pay. But the voluntariness of paying for teachers is muted by two factors. One, good teachers can’t be paid more, unlike, say, a good engineer. That’s because they’re tied into a salary scale more suitable for a factory. The second reason is that consumer sovereignty is rather limited. If you don’t wish to patronage the particular district, you must physically move–no small task.

Teachers, school district must close $1M salary gap, Lawrence Journal-World, August 20.

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