Lincoln Board of Education considers contract agreement between LEA and LPS
In a proposal presented to the Lincoln Board of Education on Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement for the 2024-25 school year.
The tentative agreement represents an intentional combination of the valuable contributions our teachers make for Lincoln Public Schools and revitalizing district practices to support student learning along with teacher retention and recruitment.
Approved by a vote of LEA members on Jan. 19, the tentative agreement provides a total compensation package increase of 4.55 percent for the 2024-25 school year, with the base salary increasing from $47,356 to $48,556. In addition, a proposed change to the salary schedule to reduce the number of steps from 40 to 25 to make it more sustainable, and target the unintended compression in the salary schedule for mid-career professionals. The school district will also assume the 1.99% health insurance premium increase.
In addition to a compensation package increase, the proposed agreement before the Board presents changes to the school calendar that will impact staff, students and families. The first major change is the end of early release for professional learning each Tuesday for high schools, and once a month for elementary and middle schools. The professional learning time will now be a part of the six non-student days within the new calendar for planning and professional development. All certificated staff will continue to have a 189-day calendar, with 175 days for student learning. If the agreement receives Board approval, the calendar committee will meet to finalize the new calendar and present it to the Board at a future meeting.
Other changes to the proposed agreement before the Board includes:
- An additional $700,000 towards extra standards compensation. This includes an increase in coordinator stipends from $11,329 to $15,000, and a move from 10 extra days to 14.
- Accumulated leave payout will increase from $16.50 to $20.00 per hour following 10 years of service.
- The 189-day teacher contract will be the same at all levels and broken down as follows:
- There are a total of 175 student learning days.
- In August, five days before students begin for professional learning and planning.
- Two days within the school year are for parent-teacher conferences.
- One day after the end of the student calendar will be a staff work day.
- Six days within the school year are for professional learning in the morning with autonomous plan time in the afternoon. Of those six days, four will be for building-led professional learning and two for district-lead sessions.
- Required staff meetings will be reduced to a maximum of one meeting per month for up to 75 minutes.
- The threshold for staff to ratify any variance in a school building was lowered from 85 percent to 75 percent approval.
- Upon return from one-year Leave Of Absence, staff will be placed where there are openings in the district after surplus certificated employees are assigned. They will no longer be guaranteed their former position or location.
- The number of “Blackout Days” or days in which staff cannot request time off was reduced to the first and last five student days and the days immediately before and after a scheduled break.
- A joint committee will be formed to review the LPS appraisal process, the new teacher tenure model and extra standard roles and pay.
The proposed agreement covers approximately 3,700 LPS employees who are teachers, librarians, nurses, social workers, counselors, school psychologists, speech language pathologists and early childhood and home-based teachers.
The Board held a first reading of the proposed agreement at the regular meeting on Jan. 23, and will hold a second reading and vote on the agreement at the next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Superintendent Paul Gausman:
“Our students, families and community are fortunate to have such highly qualified and dedicated certificated staff in our classrooms and schools. This continued investment in staff will aid us in recruiting, developing, and retaining the best professionals. This agreement recognizes the value we place on their expertise while being mindful of the challenging financial situation that our community and state continue to face.”
LEA President Deb Rasmussen:
LEA President Deb Rasmussen wanted to thank the LEA Negotiations Team and the LPS Negotiations Team members for their collaborative effort. “The negotiations table meetings were full of the exchange of ideas, agreements and disagreements, but in the end I feel we did what was best for the staff and students of LPS.”
Rasmussen also wanted to thank her LEA members for their support of all the changes that are in this agreement. President Rasmussen wanted to recognize the LEA chief negotiator Matt Erb and negotiations table team members Mindy Diller, Megan Simsic, Michael Regnier, Nicole Lopez-Bettendorf, Jeff Pierce from LPS and Teresa Matthews, Todd Tystad and Jen Dubas from NSEA.
Board President Lanny Boswell:
“The Lincoln Board of Education deeply appreciates the care, consideration and collaborative problem-solving approach that both LEA and LPS administration brought to the negotiations process. We are committed to hiring and supporting the highest quality teachers, while being fiscally accountable to the community. This tentative agreement serves our community's children and reflects our community's values while creating a sustainable system in supporting our talented teachers.”
Published: January 23, 2024, Updated: January 24, 2024