Teacher and classified unions see first COLA raises in years

The Lake Oswego School District board unanimously approved contracts with the teachers and classified unions — offering more opportunities for pay increases than in previous years.

For details on the school board decision to keep Lakeridge High School at the 6A level of the Oregon School Activities Association, see Sports, page A21.

The Monday vote OK’d a cost-of-living salary increase for members of the teachers union, the Lake Oswego Education Association, and the classified staff’s union, the Lake Oswego School Employees Association. The increase is 1 percent in year one of the three-year contract and 2 percent in the second and third years.

All eligible employees will get step increases, which are based on experience. Nonrepresented employees will receive the same pay increases.

In the previous contracts for the unions, which were for two years, employees did not get cost-of-living adjustments, and there were no step increases for the first year.

Furlough days haven’t changed from the last contract, with four for administrators and three for employees.

Although the furloughs remain and the COLA increases aren’t huge, Superintendent Bill Korach said the negotiations and discussions with nonrepresented employees were amicable and proceeded in a professional manner.

“I’m going to call this a home run, a home run for our district, a home run for our union and a home run for our community,” Korach said.

Teachers union president Andy Porter, who finishes his fourth and final one-year term on June 30, said, “We appreciate the enduring successful and strong relationship” with the district administration and board.

The contract agreements will go into effect July 1.

Also at the meeting:

  • Human Resources Director Mary Kaer announced two staff reductions, a teacher at Oak Creek Elementary School and a teacher at Westridge Elementary School. The cuts are part of the school district’s efforts to address a budget shortfall. Kaer said she believes the two likely will get a call back as other employees often leave in the summer, and teachers who are laid off are chosen first to fill the empty positions.

  • The board certified the election results, which kept John Wendland on the board and added Liz Hartman and Sarah JIM HOWELL - New Lake Oswego School District board member Sarah Howell takes the oath of office on Monday.

  • School members Linda Brown and Teri Oelrich, who chose to step down from the board, said farewell. Brown had served for three four-year terms, and Oelrich served for JIM HOWELL - New Lake Oswego School District board member Liz Hartman takes the oath of office on Monday.

  • The board agreed to give Westridge Elementary School Parent Teacher Student Organization $25,000 to pay for drainage at its new playground. It also will provide a loan beyond that for whatever costs the PTSO cannot meet for the $230,000 project. The PTSO’s website says it has raised more than $190,000 in the past 24 months.

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