KPS and KEA reach an agreement for the 2023-2024 school year

KEARNEY, Neb. (Nebraska) — Superintendent Jason Mundorf said that one of the prominent strategic pillars in Kearney Public Schools’ five-year strategic plan is Pillar 3, teacher recruitment and retention. “Superintendents do not play a large role in the negotiation process as this work is completed between the KPS board negotiation team and the Kearney Education Association negotiation team,” says Mundorf. “The work of those teams assisted by Dr. Loofe, our associate superintendent and director of finance, and Melissa Herrmann, our director of human resources, has been an outstanding and collaborative effort. The teams have focused on improving existing working conditions for teachers at KPS, while also making our school district more competitive in terms of salaries and benefits packages.”

Changes to the deal for next year include:

– KPS will increase Phase 1 base pay from $38,000 to $39,300 for beginning teachers.

– KPS will increase the district family insurance contribution from $4,150 to $5,350 for all teachers.

– All new and all current 1st year certified staff will be placed in stage 3 of the salary scale (23-24), giving all new teachers a salary increase.

– All years of service (23-24) will be accepted for new hires.

– KPS will add Phase X to the extra shift schedule. The Special Education program will include Life Skills, Level II, TLC, Transition and PSD and will assume step X in the program. Special Education Program teachers will stay at each level for two years before progressing to the next level.

– Extracurricular salaries will increase by 1%.

– KPS will add the following extracurricular programs: E-Sports (1 Head Coach), Girls & Boys Bowling (2 Head Coaches), Girls Wrestling (1 Assistant Coach and 1 Head Coach) and 1 District HAL Coordinator.

– KPS will increase Activity Worker wages to $16.00 per hour.

– KPS will switch to a Paid Leave (PTO) model for teaching staff:

– 16 PTO days per year.

– Bank up to 50 days (cash out every day over 50 at the end of the year)

– Daily rate is $100 per day (buyout to go down to 50)

– The teaching staff can transfer an unused personal day to the PTO

“We believe these efforts will pay incredible dividends in the years to come by enabling our district to attract and retain the best possible teachers for our students,” Mundorf said. “I was so impressed with the commitment to this process and the results achieved!”

Drew Blessing, Chairman of the Board of Education at KPS, said, “This agreement recognizes the hard work and contributions of teachers to our students’ education and reflects the board’s commitment to recruiting and retaining high-quality educators. Thanks to the KEA team and management for working closely with us to make this possible.”

“Kearney Public Schools has a strong history of collaborative support between the KEA Negotiations Team, the KPS School Board and the KPS District administration during our annual contract negotiations,” said Kevin Witte, representative of the Kearney Education Association. “This year, we’ve intensified our focus on finding opportunities to offer compensation and policies that strongly support retention of current staff and enhance the district’s ability to attract and recruit the best possible candidates for open positions. Our KEA Negotiations Team is very pleased with this agreement and appreciates the significant commitment made by the KPS School Board to retain and attract talented staff dedicated to serving our students and the Kearney community.

In addition to the certified settlement, the Board of Education approved a 5 percent pay increase for classified and exempt classified employees and a 3.5 percent increase for administrative positions.

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