Douglas teachers’ negotiations in "infancy" |

Douglas teachers’ negotiations in "infancy"

Mary Thompson

It’s not news that Lake Tahoe Unified School District teachers are unhappy about their salaries. But what about the teachers on the other side of the state line?

John Soderman, assistant superintendent of personnel services for the Douglas County School District, said formal negotiations between the DCSD teachers and the district haven’t started.

“Negotiations are still in their infancy,” he said. “We haven’t seen their proposals yet so we have no idea if they will be asking for a salary increase.”

The teachers, who are represented by the Douglas County Professional Education Association, will be working under their existing contract until it expires in July.

Meanwhile, across the state line, Lake Tahoe Unified School District teachers have been working without a contract since July 1998.

Mike Patterson, president of the South Tahoe Educators’ Association Union that represents the South Lake Tahoe teachers, said the teachers want a raise but negotiations have come to a halt between the teachers and district.

The Educators’ Association has filed paperwork with the Public Employment Relations Board requesting a state-appointed mediator to referee negotiations.

Both parties said they would like negotiations to resume.

“We’re a little concerned about the mediator schedule because this is the time of year when they’re really busy,” said LeAnne Kankel, LTUSD director of human resources. “We’re hoping it will all be resolved over the summer.”

According to the Douglas County School District’s salary schedule, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience earns $28,446 per year. The same teacher, crossing the California border, would make $25,945 per year in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

Top end salaries between the two districts are less divided.

A teacher in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District with 21 years of experience and a master’s degree earns $51,043 per year while a teacher with similar qualifications in the Douglas County School District can expect to make $52,224 per year.

“The teachers’ work year is 182 days, about 9 1/2 months,” said Kankel, of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. “When you look at it that way, it gives a different perspective on the daily rate.”

Patterson, the Educators’ Association president, said now matter which way you look at it the pay is still low.

“Our salary schedule isn’t very competitive at all,” he said. “It’s very difficult to attract and keep teachers with this type of pay.”

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