Teachers get first pay raise in four years

Laguna Beach Unified School District teachers and counselors will receive their first pay raise in four years after the board of trustees unanimously approved a contract Tuesday night.

Each of 162 certificated teachers and counselors with the Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Assn. will receive a 4% salary raise for the 2013-14 year, according to a district staff report.

The increase includes a 3% salary increase and an additional 1% raise for two additional staff development days, along with an incentive to retire early, the staff report said.

The last time teachers and counselors got a pay raise was the 2009-10 school year, when the board approved a 1% raise, district human resources and communication director Leisa Winston said.

"The teachers are very pleased they approved the agreement," faculty association president Linda Barker said in an email.

The district will pay $843,649 to cover the increases this year, making the average compensation for each employee, which includes salary and benefits, $129,118, the staff report said.

As part of the contract, eligible employees may also apply to retire early — between June 15 and Aug. 15 this year — and still obtain certain benefits, according to the staff report.

Board trustees approved the retirement incentive for certain teachers and administrators during their Jan. 14 meeting.

Staff recommends offering an additional two years of service credit to eligible employees who are part of the California State Teachers Retirement System's defined benefit program, an earlier Coastline Pilot story said. The credit would be applied to the employees' retirement pension payment.

Employees must declare their intent to retire by March 1 so the district can determine if the incentive is cost-effective by April 1, the staff report said.

A CalSTRS member may retire at age 55 with at least five years of service credit; age 50 with at least 30 years of service credit (excluding unused sick leave); or age 55 with less than five years of service credits if eligible for retirement with another California public retirement system such as the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

Also on Tuesday the school board unanimously approved a 4% salary raise for 25 classified management employees, certificated administrators and school psychologists who are not part of either LaBUFA or the California School Employees Assn.

The raise applies to the 2013-14 school year, in which the district will pay $183,295 to cover the 25 employees, according to a district staff report.

Average compensation, including salary and benefits, will be $176,373. These employees will also be eligible for the early retirement incentive, the staff report said.

The last time employees in this category received a raise was also the 2009-10 year with a 1% increase, Winston said.

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