Oak Creek teachers, some of whom have not received a raise in two years, could be awarded a one-time, $550 bonus while negotiations between the school district and union continue.
The payment would be a way to increase teachers' pay without raising their base salary, Superintendent Sara Burmeister. Under state law, teachers can only negotiate for their base pay. But school boards determine supplemental wages, which can include bonuses, stipends or merit pay.
The Oak Creek-Franklin School Board will vote on the proposal Oct. 8, but board members favored the idea in a committee meeting Monday.
Teachers would hopefully "see it as us wanting to work with them, recognizing that they are valued associates, and that we have an opportunity and we can afford to do it," school board member Paul Mason said.
Teachers have to be considered in "satisfactory" standing, but that is a relatively low bar and would make most teachers eligible for the bonus, officials said. If approved in October, the bonuses would be paid out at the end of the month.
Teachers are also still eligible for an additional $550 in performance-based pay, Burmeister said.
The bonuses come after other employee groups received a 1.64 percent salary increase last year and a 3.16 percent increase this year. Talks are still ongoing between the district and teachers union.
State law limits the district to providing 1.64 percent salary increases, which in Oak Creek means the district has about $300,500 it can allocate to some 385 teachers, Burmeister said.
Union leaders, meanwhile, have pushed for "true cost of living increases," saying other districts have found ways to provide teachers additional money outside of what is allowable under state rules.