Eudora News and

Story by Mark Fagan courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World

Eudora teachers would get pay raises for this school year based on their education and years of service, under contract settlement reached by negotiators this week.

The proposed agreement awaits approval by members of the Eudora Education Association and the Eudora school board, decisions likely to be made by mid-October.

The pact also would boost the district’s contribution for employee health insurance by $20 a month.

“I am very pleased that we were able to settle on a contract that provides fair compensation for our teachers and helps to address the ever-rising cost of health insurance,” Superintendent Don Grosdidier said in a statement.

Teacher and other licensed educators have been working under terms of last year’s contract, as months of negotiations had failed to secure an agreement on compensation and working conditions. Once negotiations hit an impasse, a federal mediator was called in to meet with both sides Thursday.

The session led to movement: Teachers backed off their call for adding $125 to the base salary of all 108 licensed educators in the district, while the district agreed to allow such educators to get a “step” increase on the district’s salary schedule, based upon the educators’ years of experience.

“Based on the restrictions that the state Legislature has imposed on Kansas schools, we felt that this was the best offer we were going to receive,” said Bob Sailler, a teacher and the association’s lead negotiator, in a statement. “As the district’s enrollment has increased, the number of teachers in the district has decreased. Teachers have been asked to do more and more while at the same time, our base salary has remained stagnant.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality we’re in.”

Wage increases will be retroactive to the beginning of the school year, the district said.