BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Teachers are being asked to give up one day’s pay as part of a settlement being voted on this week.
The change would drop the take-home pay for teachers who are in what is known as the “dead zone,” the years when they aren’t earning step increases. Insurance premiums will also go up for those teachers, having a further negative impact.
The changes still leave the district with a $2.1 million shortfall in a budget of more than $539 million, money that would be made up out of the district’s fund balance.
Expectations were high earlier this year when the Utah Legislature passed a 2 percent increase in the weighted per-pupil unit funding for districts, according to Craig Carter, business administrator for the district.
That increase meant an additional $9 million for Davis School District, but that money has been swallowed up by increased growth and increased retirement benefits. Federal sequestration will also drain $.9 million from district funds to finance required programs.
“We had some money this year but we didn’t have enough,” said Carter. “We had expectations but we couldn’t meet them.”
In negotiations, teachers opted not to have a cost of living increase, according to Craig Poll, assistant superintendent. Salaries for those who are making steps (for years in the district) and lanes (for more education) will increase, at a cost of $5.6 million to the district.
District staffers have been offered a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase and classified employees, a 2 percent increase.
There has been a 3 to 4 percent shift from salaries to benefits over the years, said Carter.
“Benefits have increased more rapidly than salaries,” he said. “Some of our people have been loosing money every year. Teachers have not had a COLA since 2008.”
Members of the Davis Education Association, the union that represents teachers, and the Davis Education Support Professionals, the union that represents staff, are voting on the proposed settlement this week.
“We have a valued relationship” with the unions, said Carter. “We don’t always see eye to eye but because of mutual respect we’ve been able to work through some of these items.”
Most of the district’s budget is tied up in instruction, said Carter, with 90 percent going to salaries and benefits.
Four years ago, two days of pay were cut from district staff.