Thursday, January 25, 2001

Lakota teachers get raises

Higher-paying districts have been luring staff

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Lakota Superintendent Kathleen Klink hopes pay raises for teachers and administrators will stop the exodus to neighboring districts that pay more.

        For three years, Mrs. Klink said, she has been watching teachers — especially those with 10 years' experience or more — leave Lakota for higher salaries.

        To start the 1998-99 school year, Lakota added 73 teaching positions and lost 41 teachers, with only eight to retirement.

        The following year, the district added 28 positions but 61 people left, 15 to retirement.

        Last fall 7.5 positions were added but 89 teachers left, with only 15 of those retirements.

        A three-year master contract for teachers approved this week by the Lakota Board of Education includes a two-step increase: 4 percent retroactive to September and a one-time, 2 percent market adjustment, retroactive to Jan. 1. Together, the raises boost beginning teachers' pay from $25,964 annually to $27,543, said Lakota Treasurer Alan Hutchinson.

        By the start of the 2001-02 school year, a beginning teacher's salary will increase to $28,920 under terms of the contract, Mr. Hutchinson said.

        “It doesn't get us to where the Princetons and Masons are, and nowhere near Sycamore, but it does decrease the margin between us and them,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

        Salaries in the district have been frozen since July 1999. Voters approved a levy two months ago that includes 4.9 mills for operations. It provides $8.3 million annually.

        “I'm hopeful with a new contract in hand, we won't see the migration we have seen the last year,” said Joan Powell, school board president.

        Administrators, too, were given raises after a consultant from the Ohio School Boards Association reviewed salaries, benefits and responsibilities, Mr. Hutchinson said. Their raises averaged 4 to 5 percent, but were as high as 11 percent and as low as 2 percent.

        Mrs. Klink received a 3 percent raise, boosting her salary to $110,100, Mr. Hutchinson said. She is eligible for a bonus, based on a performance review next July.


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