Douglas county teachers vie for pay raise
Despite a lack of funding from the state, teachers in the Douglas County School District will be seeking a salary increase during contract negotiations this year, according to Marty Cronin, president of the Douglas County Professional Education Association which represents the teachers in the district.
“Teachers believe that there’s money in the budget that could go to salary increases,” he said. “Funding could come from budgeting practices that haven’t been executed.”
The current salary schedule for the some 428 teachers in Douglas County School District ranges from $28,446 per year for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience to a maximum salary rate of $52,224 per year for teachers with a master’s degree and 20 years of experience.
According to Cronin, DCSD teachers rank fourth in pay out of the 17 school districts in Nevada, depending on which salary schedule is used, but have fallen behind in compensation benefits during the last eight to 10 years.
“Our request is not going to be out of line, it’s reasonable to expect our salary increase to correspond with the cost of living rate,” Cronin said.
He also said the district and the union haven’t been able to agree on ground rules in the negotiation process.
“Given our current district’s practices, it’s fairly clear they have no interest in bargaining and it’s likely we’ll have to go to a third party,” he said.
But John Soderman, assistant superintendent of personnel services for the DCSD, said the district is open to good-faith bargaining with the union.
“I think that’s a groundless accusation,” he said. “They have a responsibility to give us a package of suggested changes. They are the moving party and generally that’s how negotiations work.
“We’re waiting to get their proposals and since we haven’t gotten those, formal negotiations haven’t begun.”
Soderman said the lack of funding from the state level has been felt in the district already.
“The governor didn’t put salary increases in the budget,” he said. “We weren’t even provided with enough money to cover our insurance packages.”
Finding money in the district’s budget to fund a salary increase is a topic of negotiation, Soderman said.
If the situation is not resolved by July 1 when the teachers’ contracts expire, they will continue working under the conditions and terms of their expired agreement until a new contract is worked out. By law, teachers in Nevada are not allowed to strike.
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