Keokuk teachers ask for 6 percent raise for 2013-14 school year - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Keokuk teachers ask for 6 percent raise for 2013-14 school year

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KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

Do you think your children's teacher deserve a pay raise?

The teachers in the Keokuk School District think they do, but school board officials said raising teacher pay could cut programs.

Teachers like Myra Jones at Keokuk High School say they want a 6% raise on their base salary.

They also want the school district to chip in more for their insurance premiums each year.

When you add that up, the total raise would be around 7% for the 2013/14 school year.

Jones is also the chief negotiator for the teachers' union.

She said the issue of raises stemmed from the proposal from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to raise entry level teacher salaries from $28 to $35,000 a year.

"We're just a little over $31,000, so by asking for that 6% increase on the base, that's still a couple thousand dollars short of what the governor is proposing," said Jones.   

School Board President Tyler McGhghy said while he thinks the teachers are worth more than they make, he said the extra money is just not there.

He said the raises proposed by the union would cost the district about $800,000 dollars a year.

"We also have to keep in mind that it does take money to educate the kids. When you are looking at curriculum updates, utilities. When you are looking at transportation costs," said McGhghy.

McGhghy said he doesn't want to have to cut programs to give teachers raises, but Jones disagrees that would be necessary.

"There's money in the fund that the district is keeping for other things and we would just like them to spend that on teaching staff, recruit better teachers, and keep the good teachers that they have," said Jones.

Jones, said in the end, both sides will likely meet somewhere in the middle.

The district will offer its first proposal Wednesday, January 30 at 4:30 p.m. at Torrence Elementary.

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