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Education

Shawnee Mission Teachers, District Reach Tentative Contract

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After two of sessions with a federal mediator, the union representing Shawnee Mission teachers says it's reached a deal with the district.

The two sides declared an impasse back in July and met with the mediator once last month and then finalized the tentative deal last Thursday.

Shawnee Mission will put 0.65 percent more into salaries in the new contract, says union president Linda Sieck. That will cost the district, she says, about $2.9 million dollars more this year.

Sieck says this is a modest increase but everyone is worried about the worsening Kansas budget.

"Every month we hear the state has less and less coming in and the district is concerned about that," Sieck says.

Teachers who don’t move up through the salary schedule will get a one-time stipend ranging up to $1,350.

Making sure all teachers got at least some extra money was the main goal of the union, Sieck says.

This comes at an uncertain time for all school districts in Kansas.

Lawmakers must write a new funding formula come January and educators can’t plan future budgets until they know what’s in it.

Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson has repeatedly said he's worried the state will be forced to cut K-12 education this funding year because tax revenues aren't meeting projections.

This new tentative contract comes after three top district officials got big raises this year. Hinson got a 9.5 percent boost. His salary went from $232,280 to $254,280 a year. He also gets a $1,000 monthly car allowance.

Two other administrators also got big raises this year. Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick, the district's CFO, received a 15 percent pay hike from $169,500 to $195,500. Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership Michelle Hubbard pay jumped almost 9 percent from $164,076 to $178,576.

If the Legislature puts more money into school funding, Sieck says she hopes the district will look after staff. "When we have money will they give it to teachers?"

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the contract Tuesday at a special meeting. Sieck says teachers will vote to ratify in the next week.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

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