Verona Area School District educators will get their largest increase in pay since Act 10 was signed nearly a decade ago.
Negotiations between the district and the Verona Area Educators Association resulted an agreement the school board unanimously approved at its Monday, April 20 meeting. That includes an increase of 2.44% in base wages – the most allowed by law – and a supplemental increase of 1.11% for its 480 teachers.
The agreement will culminate in the district collectively increasing teacher salaries by $941,000. Base wages for most teachers will increase by $1,860 per person; for 72 teachers who were either above their total years of experience placement or were hired partway through the year, their wages will increase by $717.
Increased wages will be installed for the May 15 payroll, and retroactive lump sum payments for the 2019-2020 academic year will be paid May 29.
“It’s a pretty aggressive timeline, but we do want to get those payments in people’s hands before the end of the school year,” human resources manager Jason Olson said.
The wage increases are the result of closed session bargaining between the district, the board and VAEA, spread over the span of months of board meetings. A letter to district teachers from Olson and VAEA representatives stated that wage increases were meant to address the past effects of pay compression created by having different salary schedules, which left some employees behind.
Gov. Scott Walker signed Act 10 into law in 2011, limiting the amount of collective bargaining public employees can engage in. Total wage increases can not exceed a cap based on the consumer price index, or what is generally referred to as inflation.
Board president Noah Roberts said he was grateful to see the continued collaboration between the district and the VAEA to accomplish shared objectives.
“Certainly we appreciate our teachers immensely, and it’s why a lot of us are on the board – we know that supporting our teachers means supporting our students,” he said. “(It ensures) teachers who have been with us for a long time, or teachers just joining our district, feel valued and that there’s a structure in place to keep them here.”