WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Keokuk School District, Teachers Talking Compensation

May 3, 2017

The Keokuk School District and the Keokuk Education Association are negotiating teacher salaries despite the two sides already having a contract in place for the 2017/2018 school year.

The current employment agreement, which runs through June 30, 2018, includes a 3.1% increase in total compensation for teachers during this school year and a 3.1% increase for 2017/2018.

Heidi Harness, who is the school district’s business manager, said total compensation can include salaries and the money paid by the district for insurance premiums or IPERS (retirement).

A clause, though, in the contract allowed for compensation to be re-negotiated if the Iowa Legislature set state aid lower than 2% or higher than 6%. Lawmakers settled on roughly 1%, prompting the contract talks.

The teachers are seeking a 2% increase in the base pay to more than $34,000. They also want raises based on experience and education.

The district’s initial offer is a 1% increase in total compensation. Harness said that would work out to about $120,000, much of which could be accounted for by the school paying more for insurance premiums.

No other language will be negotiated. Future talks will take place behind closed doors.