Whitefish Bay approves 1.35 percent pay increase for teachers

Attrition, retirement fund minor salary bump

May 1, 2013

Whitefish Bay - The Whitefish Bay School Board last week approved a 1.35 percent teacher salary increase for the 2012-13 year, which will result in a retroactive lump sum payment at the end of the current school year.

The increase is funded within the current budget as a result of retirements and attrition, noted district Business Manager Sean Yde. After several teachers retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year, the district refilled those positions at lower salaries and fringe costs, freeing up funding for the raises.

"As we rehired, we examined the savings we had," Yde said. "In the end, it's something. It's not much, but it's something."

Whereas teachers used to bargain for raises to apply to their entire salaries, Act 10 limits negotiations to a percentage of the "base wage," which in the bargaining between the Whitefish Bay Education Association and district was the amount a teacher with a bachelor's degree would be making, adjusted for their time within the district.

Yde estimated the lump sums will range between $480 and $1,000 per teacher, depending on experience.

"There really is a greater sense of partnership between the administration, the board and the union. That was very unexpected," WBEA President Michelle Mooney said of the bargaining process. "It's important that we continue to work together as allies, and I think this negotiation process highlighted that we are."

She added that Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2013-15 biennial budget, which includes a freeze on district spending limits, will squeeze the budget next year whether or not teachers are paid more.

"Even if teachers get no salary increases, and even if we take care of any increases in health care," Mooney said, "with (the governor's proposed) budget, there will still be cuts, and it will still hurt programming."

She said if the governor's budget is approved by the Legislature, those cuts may become a catalyst in the comings years.

"The people of this district will really start to take notice and start to bring pressure to bear on legislators," Mooney said. "The citizens of Wisconsin aren't going to let education die."

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