Auburn-Washburn teachers fight for a raise

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Local teachers are taking a stand and demanding bigger paychecks. The Auburn-Washburn District spent Monday night negotiating teacher contracts.

Salary negotiations happen before every new school year. But with more money coming from the state this year, Auburn-Washburn teachers are hoping to see significant change.

Negotiators said last school year Auburn-Washburn ranked 94th among districts in the state for teacher pay and they had to work more days to get it.

“We very much would like our teachers to be the highest-paid teachers in the state. It’s not that we don’t want to give you $41,000,” a board member said.

After more than 3 hours of negotiating, the board came back with an offer of a $3,000 raise. That would bring teachers’ base salary to almost $41,000.

Lara McDonald teaches at Washburn Rural Middle School and was the district’s teacher of the year in 2019.

“Oh man, it means everything. I could probably talk too long about it. In any field that anybody works in, recognition is important,” McDonald said. “Investing in teachers gives us the strength to deal with the issues that we deal with in the classroom now.”

She said this offer makes a difference.

“It means a lot. I mean I know some teachers that have to work second jobs to make ends meet. This will make a huge difference to teachers for sure,” McDonald said.

She’s very thankful to the board and the negotiators who made it happen.

“Teachers are happy with what came back. We fought the good fight and we’re lucky that the board listened and understood where we were coming from, so I feel good about it,” McDonald said.

Nothing from the discussion is finalized yet. The board still has to ratify it and both sides have to sign on. That should happen sometime in August.

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