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S.L. BOARD OKS SOME RAISES; TEACHERS' CONTRACT PENDING

Three groups of Salt Lake School District employees will get a 3 percent pay raise, but the district is still negotiating with its largest employee group, the teachers.

On Tuesday, the Salt Lake Board of Education ratified the agreements with administrators and professional personnel, office workers and comprehensive employees.The comprehensive employees is a catch-all category that the district uses to cover employees not easily lumped into other worker groups. Included in this group are draftsmen, engineers and some types of computer programmers.

The ratified agreements include a 3 percent pay raise and some minor adjustments on health insurance coverage but no premium increases, said Business Administrator W. Gary Harmer.

The board also set the salaries of its top district officials, including Superintendent John W. Bennion.

Bennion, who has been the highest paid local superintendent in the state, will earn $86,106, compared to $84,569 this year. In his compensation package, he also receives a $5,568 transportation and expense allowance and a $10,000 annuity.

Other salaries set by the board are: Harmer, $63,627; deputy superintendent Mary Jean Johnson, $61,673; and personnel director J. Dale Manning, $56,378.

Their compensation packages will also include annuities and expense allowances, although they will be smaller than Bennion's.

Harmer said negotiations are still under way with the classified employees, buildings and grounds workers, food service workers, bus drivers and the district's 1,200 teachers.

Robert Adams, executive director of the Salt Lake Teachers Association, the teacher bargaining unit, said teachers and district officials are still talking. "We are not at an impasse. We're working on many issues."

He told the school board teachers are worried that because the board adopts its budget before teacher contracts are settled, flexibility with the salary schedule will be limited.

Harmer agreed that some flexibility is lost after the budget is adopted, but he said it's possible to make changes later by cutting programs or other areas.

Board member Stephen Boyden pointed out that, by law, the budget must be adopted within a certain time frame even if teacher negotiations are still under way.