USD 501 Teachers Get New Deal

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka Public Schools' teachers head into the coming year with a slight raise and greater incentives to stay on board after reaching a new agreement with the district. Members of the local National Education Association (NEA-T) already ratified the deal which got the school board's stamp of approval on Thursday.

"Teachers across the district are very happy with the agreement that was reached,” NEA-T representative Richard Bolejack said in a statement issued Thursday night.

Under the agreement, certified staff members will get a $680 bump to their base salary, while their insurance premiums hold steady. The pay increase brings the starting salary for a new Topeka Public Schools teacher graduating college to $37,120, the district said.

“Our health insurance premiums have not increased for four consecutive years,” USD 501 Deputy Superintendent Larry Robbins said.

To help retain teachers, the deal doubles the number of increases based on longevity from three to six, with the maximum being $1,000 annually.

"As teachers, we feel the district is interested in retaining good, quality, veteran teachers," Bolejack said.

Due process rights were not included in the negotiations. A district spokesperson said those already exist in a professional agreement that dates back to the 1990s.

“I think both sides are happy with the fact that we were able to reach agreement on a package that is mutually beneficial for both the school district and our certified staff,” Robbins said.