Teacher pay and insurance benefits will go up slightly this school year with a new two-year contract between the Shakopee Education Association and Shakopee Public Schools, but the district’s teacher base salaries still fall behind many surrounding districts.
The contract, approved by the Shakopee School Board in a unanimous vote Jan. 6, includes a 1% pay raise and 10% increase in health insurance contributions for teachers during the 2019-2020 school year, and a 3.25% pay raise and 8% increase in insurance contributions the following year.
Teacher pay for co-curricular activities will stay exactly the same for the next two years.
The Shakopee Education Association, a teacher’s union, and the district have been negotiating teacher contracts since June 2019. For the past three years, the contract negotiations have run into budgeting issues related to the district’s need to recover its fund balance, which tanked in 2017. The union and the district also heavily negotiated calculating salaries that were competitive with other districts and managing health care plans when the cost of care is rising, the district said in an online statement.
“The district has made a good-faith effort in this settlement to make sure teacher salaries do not continue to fall behind that of surrounding districts while also helping teachers manage the increasing costs of insurance,” Shakopee Education Association President Dale Anderson said.
Teacher’s contracts run from fall to spring, so they will receive back pay for their new salary starting with each new year, or during the second semester of each school year.
The starting salary for a new teacher in Shakopee will go from $39,834 during the 2019-2020 school year to $41,129 for the 2020-2021 school year. Those salaries are a couple years behind the surrounding districts’ settlement contracts.
The Prior Lake-Savage Area School District’s new teachers will see salary raises from $41,753 for this school year to $43,653 next school year. And while they haven’t yet reached a new settlement agreement for the next two years, Eastern Carver County teachers were earning a starting salary of $39,479 in 2017-2018 and $41,479 for the 2018-2019 school year. Eden Prairie teachers were earning a starting salary of $39,479 two years ago, and $41,077 last year.
Despite the gap in teacher base pay, Shakopee’s 2019-2021 teacher’s contract was a far cry from the 2017-2019 settlement, which tacked on a 0.5% raise for the first year and .12% raise the second year.
Anderson said the SEA and the district are working hard to ensure teachers don’t go backward financially while Shakopee schools recoups its fund balances.