Lodi Teachers Rally for Contract Settlement

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LODI -- With signs and chants, teachers with the Lodi Education Association protested against the Lodi Unified School District.

Union teachers said they want what they consider a fair salary, which is a 5 percent increase.

However, the Lodi Unified School District said to FOX40 in an email, “LUSD has offered to increase the salary schedule by 2 percent for the 2016-2017 school year.” They said the offer is on top of an 8 percent increase to the salary schedule that was previously agreed on.

The chapter president with LEA said they’re concerned that not offering what they see as a competitive salary for educators could have a negative impact on teacher retention and recruitment.

“We expect at the current rate more teachers who are new leaving our district to go to other neighboring districts that pay better and have better benefits. Some of our competitors they offer free health insurance that's covered by the district,” said Michelle Orgon, the chapter president of LEA.

The school district added the average annual teacher salary within their schools is about $94,000, which includes benefits.

"I can tell you that I have been provided with the average cost of a teacher in LUSD which is $94,843.00 per year. That total includes salary, health and welfare benefits, statutory benefits, and State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) employer contribution," said Assistant Superintendent Mike McKilligan.

However, the LEA president said the average is more like $89,000 a year.

One thing both sides can agree on, is they’re all hoping for a resolution soon since there has been no contract since June 2016.

If the groups reach a tentative agreement, then that will have to be approved by the Board of Education.