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Teachers to vote on pay raise

July 02, 1998

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

A proposal that includes a 3 percent across-the-board pay increase for Washington County teachers and extra pay for some instructors at the bottom of the pay scale will go to members of the Washington County Teachers Association for a vote, officials said Thursday.

The two-year contract proposal also calls for a 4 percent across-the-board increase in the 1999-2000 school year, although that depends on funding from the Washington County Commissioners, officials said.

The Board of Education is adding money to about the first six steps of the salary scale in an attempt to attract new teachers, said John Hull, acting supervisor of human resources.

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Teachers in those steps will get up to a 6 percent increase, said Hull.

"This won't do a lot. It may move us up a notch or two. We're still going to be behind," said Hull.

The county lags behind many other counties - and ranks last in some instances - in the salaries it pays to teachers.

Glenda Norris, who has taught in the district for 32 years, said it is unfair to beef up starting salaries while longtime instructors like herself get few raises.

The county's salary scale goes to 25 years of service. Teachers with more than 25 years of service do not get a raise under the scale unless the school board approves a special increase for them.

Norris said it is "very deceptive" to lure young teachers to the county with extra money, only to have them face low salaries in later years.

The proposal also gives teachers three personal days but eliminates the ability for them to accumulate up to five days, said Dave Williams, who is on the negotiating team for the teachers association.

Some teachers consider eliminating the ability to accumulate days a "slap in the face," said Williams.

A request by the Board of Education to allow teachers to take the days only for certain reasons was dropped, said Williams.

Hull said the Board of Education has concerns about giving teachers three days, feeling it takes away from instruction time in classrooms.

School officials were preparing to mail ballots to teachers association members Thursday.

Voting probably will be complete by the end of July, Williams said. If the association approves the proposal, the salary increases will go into effect, said Williams.

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