South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Lindbergh school board OKs 3-year contract with teachers

Staff Report

A three-year contract agreement with the Lindbergh National Education Association has been approved by the Lindbergh Board of Education.

Under the pact, which runs through the 2008-2009 school year, the starting salary for beginning teachers for 2006-2007 is $34,901. In 2007-2008, the starting salary will be $36,018, and in 2008-2009, the starting salary will be $37,170.

For the first year of the contract, the average overall salary increase will be 4.4 percent, according to Pat Lanane, the district’s chief financial officer. The overall average salary increase will be 4.3 percent during the second year of the pact and 3.8 percent the final year.

Board of Education members voted unanimously to approve the agreement during a March 14 closed session.

“The board is pleased to have reached an agreement that provides a three-year term,” board President Mark Rudoff stated in a news release. “This will allow us to more accurately plan the district’s finances, and provide financial stability. At the same time, this will keep the district in a competitive position to attract and retain the best teachers. The board’s top priorities are the students and providing resources for the classroom. Teachers are our most important classroom resource.”

Lanane told the Call that the increase falls within the district’s annual expenditure limit of 3.5 percent. Of the three-year pact, he said, “We were able to work this into our 3.5-percent scenario.”

Noting that the overall average salary increase for the first year of the three-year pact is 4.4 percent, Lanane said, “The true cost to the district is going to be at least a percent less than that. In fact, I went back and calculated the last three-year agreement. It was more than 1 percent less a year. In fact, it was almost 2 (percent less).”

The chief financial officer also discussed the process used to determine teaching salaries, using “win-win discussions” and comparing salaries to six benchmark districts — Kirkwood, Rockwood, Parkway, Pattonville, Webster Groves and Mehlville.

Lanane noted the process starts with the question: “What is the raise that’s going to be needed for our teachers to be competitive with our benchmark school districts and allow us to recruit and retain the best teachers?”

The next step is a thorough study of the benchmark districts.

“We have two main financial targets. One is to recruit and retain the very best teachers, and the only way you do that is you’ve got to be competitive. We don’t have to have the best schedule because there’s so many other great things about working in Lindbergh. We think we can attract them if we just have a competitive schedule,” Lanane said.

“Then the other thing that’s been one of our targets is whatever it takes to meet these state and federal mandates on achievement. So that’s where you ask which baskets are you going to put your dollars in? Those are the two baskets.”

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