Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the state's education funding bill. The bill will mean Iowa school districts will get a one percent increase in state aid. That's roughly $67 per student.
The slight increase in allowable growth will force the district to make back $1.4-million in its budget. Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman revealed a proposal that will effect nearly 300 teachers in the district. Gausman announced the board's plan to strike 6th period pay for teachers. Salaries of teachers in the Sioux City Community School District include pay for five periods per day. About one-third of teachers are asked to teach an additional 6th period for which they are paid. about $4,800. Gausman says the board's plan is to eliminate this additional pay. "We know we're going to upset about a third of the teaching staff by doing this, but the important thing to us is, the teaching staff stays the same size by us doing this," said Gausman. "We don't have to have another year where we lay off staff members, so that we can keep paying about 300 staff members this extra stipend."
Representatives of local school teachers say this will negatively affect about half of district high school teachers, and 75 percent of middle school teachers. They say not only will those teachers still be asked to teach 6 periods per school day -- every high school and middle school teacher in the district will be.
"They're going to require everyone to teach it and pay no one for it," said Iowa State Education Association regional director Brenda Zahner. "We're very concerned about the economic impact that that will have on our teachers. It's very difficult to try to manage a household budget when all of a sudden your household income goes down by $4,800."
Gausman says the problem with 6th period pay was magnified when the district moved from 7 to 8 periods a day three years ago to accompany block scheduling.
Gausman and Zahner both said they're currently negotiating and hope to reach a compromise in the next couple weeks.