Education

Wichita school district, service workers reach tentative contract deal

The Wichita school district has reached a tentative contract agreement with the groups that represent service workers and security personnel.
The Wichita school district has reached a tentative contract agreement with the groups that represent service workers and security personnel. File photo

A tentative contract agreement between the Wichita school district and its service workers includes a 3.75 percent raise and no changes to health insurance premiums, district officials announced.

The school board reached agreement on a 2017-18 salary and benefit package with Service Employees International Union Local 513 and the Uniformed Security Officers and Security Dispatchers groups, officials said.

SEIU’s bargaining unit includes more than 2,000 classified school district employees, including para-educators, custodians, clerical staff and food service employees.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

▪ A 3.75 percent salary improvement

▪ One step on the salary schedule for years of experience

▪ Unfreezing longevity pay

▪ Movement on the career ladder if employees are eligible and quality

▪ No changes to employee health plan premiums

The total package for employees is valued at 4.35 percent, district officials said.

“SEIU members are thrilled that the district’s new money is coming back into classrooms and salaries,” said Esau Freeman, local business representative for the union, in a statement released by the district.

“We are pleased with the package and fulfillment of the board’s promise to make compensation a priority.”

Wichita superintendent Alicia Thompson said the district was “appreciative of the cooperative spirit and positive working relationship” between the school board and union.

“Recruitment and retention of high-quality staff is the Board of Education’s top priority for investment of additional state funding this year,” Thompson said in the news release.

“I’m pleased we were able to offer this strong compensation increase to our service, security and dispatch employees in order to recognize the valuable contributions they make every day to the success of Wichita Public Schools students.”

SEIU members will vote on the tentative agreement Sept. 20. If that group ratifies it, the school board will vote on final approval.

Last year’s contract included a one-time bonus and increased health insurance costs for many employees.

Negotiations are still underway between the district and United Teachers of Wichita, which represents about 4,200 teachers. Teams are scheduled to meet Wednesday evening.

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias

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