Proposal would up Tulsa teachers' pay
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Sunday, October 12, 2008
10/12/08 at 2:34 AM
Tulsa teachers are currently voting on a new employment contract proposal, which includes a one-step advancement on the district's pay scale.
Ballots are due to the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association by Thursday. If teachers ratify the contract and it is approved by the school board, teachers would see an average increase of $575 in their November paychecks.
TCTA negotiators had hoped to secure even greater pay raises to help teachers cope with rising health insurance costs, but it just wasn't possible because state funding has been stagnant, said Linda Hendrix, a teachers union representative.
"This was a tough year at the (negotiating) table because the Legislature did not give school districts one single dime more than they did last year. It's inexcusable in the eyes of our team. It places school districts in a difficult position," she said.
Starting pay for a first-year teacher in Tulsa Public Schools will remain the same as it was in 2007-08, at $32,900. All other teachers will receive a "step increase" on the district pay scale, with the highest level of pay at $53,570 for a teacher with a doctorate and at least 23 years' service.
Teachers who have reached the top of the pay scale and can't advance any further will receive the same one-time $500 stipend they received last year, plus an additional $500, Hendrix said.
Chief Human Resources Officer Bill Naftzger said "career" teachers will receive an additional $1,000 for reaching certain milestones, such as 20 or 25 years' experience. That could equate to a maximum salary of $58,571 for a teacher with a doctorate degree and 37 years' experience.
Naftzger agreed that contract negotiations were tougher this year than in several previous years.
"If you just look at the expenses we all face — from the health benefit increase to the impact of fuel costs and everything else — these are difficult times for everybody. So certainly, we wanted to do everything we can to help our employees financially," Naftzger said. "One thing we're blessed with is we really have a good working relationship with the teachers union. So even in a tough year, we were able to reach a deal."
Andrea Eger 581-8470