Starting Salt Lake City teachers to make $46,845 a year after school board approves raise

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After months of tense salary negotiations, Salt Lake City teachers will get a 4.1% raise — with the final vote of approval for the compromise coming from the district’s board of education Tuesday night.

Board members overwhelmingly supported the increase, which is lower than what educators had asked for and lower, too, than surrounding districts approved this year. But after threats of a strike, the agreement was welcomed as a way to move forward.

Talks initially stalled in June, and Salt Lake City School District had to bring in a federal mediator to help it come to a consensus with the local teachers union. The group announced the deal earlier last month. Now that both have agreed after Tuesday’s vote, the compromise will increase the annual pay for starting educators to $46,845 while bumping all teachers up at least $1,845.

This is the third consecutive year that Utah districts have attempted to outbid one another in the so-called teacher “salary wars.” Salt Lake City had been the last to reach a deal and now falls near the bottom of the pack for pay among the big districts. Just two years ago, it was among the highest paying in the state.

Initially, the district’s school board members had suggested a 3% raise. The stalemate started when the education association refused to accept that.

The disagreements came in the midst of statewide difficulties in hiring and retaining teachers — where pay has become the bargaining chip for districts to attract the best in the field. An arms race kicked off in April, when Canyons School District announced it would raise its annual salary for starting teachers to $50,000.