May 29, 2013

The Carroll Community School District and local teachers' union have reached an agreement increasing the salary-and-benefit packages of about 130 employees by 4 percent next school year.

School board members approved the agreement in a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. The Carroll Education Association - which represents teachers and nurses - approved the 2013-2014 package last week. The deal includes a 2.46 percent increase, or $626 increase in base pay, from $25,286 to $25,912.

"It's definitely a fair agreement for both sides this year," said Carroll School Board president Kim Tiefenthaler.

Dale Schmidt, chief negotiator for the local teachers' union, characterized the package as a "fair settlement." Schmidt, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, has represented the teachers' association for about three decades in negotiations with the district.

With state teacher salary supplements - and the district's decision to start new teachers at year-three levels - a beginning teacher in the Carroll public system will make $34,885 under the agreement. A teacher with at least 24 years of experience, a master's degree and 30 additional credit hours - the highest level on the Carroll salary scale - will make $68,194.

The package increase will cost the district $372,901, bringing the total salary-and-benefit expenditures to $9,687,644.

The district and teachers based the increase on the average of roughly the first 100 settlements from school systems around the state.

"I do think it was a very good way of handling negotiations this year," said Carroll Schools superintendent Rob Cordes.

It is the first time Carroll school officials can recall the district using the 100-district average as a tool, said veteran CCSD business affairs director Gary Bengtson.

The school board Monday also approved a separate deal with the Carroll Education Support Association for a 3.58 percent salary-and-benefit package increase. Under the plan, teacher associates and health assistants will see a 34-cent-per-hour boost. Health assistants start at $10.11 per hour. Special-education associates begin at $9.66 per hour, and regular teacher associates make $9.40 an hour to start.

Bus drivers will see an increase of $34 per month to $953.

Cordes expects the support-personnel union to approve the plan. The bargaining group represents secretaries and food-service employees and other staff, about 120 people.

"They felt they could get this ratified," Cordes said.

The salaries of principals and administrators are set separately by the board. Cordes said those salary-and-benefit packages likely would be set next month.