Just three weeks before school starts, thousands of Wichita teachers will get something they want and many say deserve...a pay raise.
The Wichita school board and the union representing teachers reached an agreement on a new contract.
It includes a 2% increase in salary, and they'll get continued paid health insurance. Part of the pay hike will be paid through cuts in school spending.
Ester Miller is a 21-year veteran of teaching. She starts work later in the month, but is going back to school now to plan for the new semester.
KAKE News showed Ester the proposed pay raise. Ester says, "We deserve a lot more than that. But, I guess if we get a raise every year, that's alright."
The teachers' raise will be paid three ways: with grant monies, funds from the state, and money saved by a 5% cut in the budget across the board.
USD 259 Human Resources Superintendent Ed Raymond says, "We're happy to be able to do that for our teachers in light of the financial situation that we're looking at for the next year or two."
Raymond says the financial books are tight because state money could be on the decline. 3,600 teachers will vote to accept or decline the offer. Union president Barb Fuller says money will be a big issue. She expects teachers will likely pass the proposal put in front of them.
Fuller says, "We would like to make professional teaching very competitive and one of the ways to do that is in salary."
Another big issue the teacher's union is pushing is time. They want time for teachers to work on their lesson plans on the job rather than doing it at home.
More time at work to plan is not something the school board was willing to give. Either way, the teachers will vote later this month.
If teachers vote yes on this package, it could be ratified early next month.