Few Raises for Teachers This Year

Few Raises for Teachers This Year

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Teachers representatives don't have big hopes for contract negotiations. With rare exceptions, teachers will be lucky to see any net increase in wages and benefits.

One exception, is the Carbon District, where teachers will receive a 5 percent pay increase, said Carbon Education Association president Janis Blake. That is because patrons voted last year to raise property taxes.

Most other school districts and teachers unions, however, are grappling with state budget cuts and a meager increase in the state's per-student funding formula, which might not even cover rising costs of health insurance.

"You can't cut away that funding ... and expect people in a second year of losses to feel good," Utah Education Association executive director Susan Kuziak said. "It's a very difficult time ... but they're working hard with their districts, and it's not the districts' fault."

As the 2003 Legislature ended, UEA leaders believed pay hikes would be hard to come by, and that teachers would lose at least one day's pay under the teacher training fund cut.

The Jordan Education Association has struck a tentative agreement with the school district. Details have not yet been released, but JEA President Scott Berryessa said teachers will receive no cost-of-living pay increase and lose the equivalent of two days' pay due to state budget cuts.

Under a tentative agreement in the Salt Lake City School District, teachers will receive an 0.84 percent cost-of-living increase, plus an additional day's pay, Salt Lake Teachers Association President Elaine Tzourtzouklis said.

"We just did the basics this year. ... We didn't figure we were going to get anything (above that)," Tzourtzouklis said. "I really feel it's a lot better than most districts will get."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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