SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Salary negotiations between the SLC School District and the Salt Lake Educators Association (SLEA) have stalled for the third time this year over teacher salaries; the district announced Thursday they will be calling in federal mediation.
District Communications Director Yándary Chatwin explained, “Someone from the local office based in Las Vegas will come here on July 10, will sit down with both sides and will try to work out an agreement that everyone can be happy with.”
Teachers have been advocating for a 6% raise, which the final district offer did reach, but with a catch. Instead of a multi-lane and step pay schedule, the district would place all teachers in the same lane with an unlimited number of smaller pay steps based on education and length of service.
Highland High School teacher Kyle Bracken explained, “The lanes represent the types of education you’ve done, the steps have to do with your time in service. With this new system they’ve proposed, it’s estimated teachers could lose $100-150,000 over the course of your career.
In the past year, the Salt Lake City school district has voted to increase the salary of paraprofessionals from $11 to $15 per hour, and have budgeted the funds for a full-time counselor in every elementary school.
Chatwin said, “It is difficult to budget and prioritize the needs of all the employees across the district and balance that with the needs of students but our board has shown that they are committed to our educators and we hope that after July 10th they’ll feel that way as well.”
Bracken said SLEA educators hope negotiations are successful but say they will strike if necessary.