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Education

Starting salary for Woodland Hills teachers to increase under new contract

Jamie Martines
| Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:39 a.m.
The Woodland Hills School District administrative building.
The Woodland Hills School District administrative building.

The Woodland Hills school board unanimously agreed Thursday to raise teachers' starting salary to $39,550, a move the teachers' union said will make the district more competitive with other districts in the county.

The agreement with the Woodland Hills Education Association also increases salaries for teachers who have worked with the district between seven and 11 years, a group that makes up the majority of the district's teacher workforce, association President Adam Forgie said.

Teachers will contribute more for health care under the agreement.

This is the first time in seven years new money has been added to the contract, Forgie said. It is also the only year in the four-year agreement that new money will be added to the salary schedule.

Residents at Thursday's meeting raised concerns about substantial pay increases between a teacher's 15th and 17th year of service.

Teachers with a bachelor's degree in their 15th year of teaching would make $73,094, according to the 2017-18 salary schedule.

By year 17, that teacher would make $92,050, a difference of $18,956.

“Younger teachers are not going to want to come here,” said resident Tracy Bubin, addressing the board. She questioned why the board did not negotiate to distribute raises evenly across the pay scale.

“The lower level teachers — there's no incentive for them to stay,” Bubin said.

Teachers with a bachelor's degree would see a $1,477 raise going into their second year of teaching, according to the 2017-18 salary schedule.

Between years seven and eight, that teacher's salary would increase from $50,520 to $52,785.

Board Vice President Mike Belmonte said the board realizes the pay scale is “out of whack” and will work on smoothing out pay increases in future contracts.

“We realized we couldn't do it all at once, but we are aware of that,” Belmonte said.

Robert Tomasic and Jeff Hanchett were not present for the meeting. Jeff Hildebrand and Ava Johnson attended via conference call.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2867, jmartines@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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