State budget problems stalling Kansas teacher contracts

LAWRENCE | Weeks into the new school year, teachers in one-fifth of Kansas school districts are working without new contracts.

Researchers say the state's budget problems have reduced the amount of money school districts have to offer teachers, making contract negotiations more difficult.

The Kansas Association of School Boards says that as of last Friday, the median base salary and fringe benefits package for teachers is $36,810 in districts with new teacher contracts. That's a 1.2 percent increase from 2008-2009, compared with a median percentage increase of 4 percent each of the last two years.

Jim Hays, a researcher with the association, says many districts have offered one-time payments to teachers because they fear they will have even less money to offer next year.