The La Crosse School Board approved a pay increase for its teachers Monday night - but some teachers were expecting more.
Members approved a one percent increase in total base wages for all teachers - that equals about $459 per teacher, no matter what their tenure or education level. An additional raise included benefits like social security payments, and yet another increases pay by .93 percent for teachers with a higher level of education. Ultimately, the overall increase equals 2.24 percent.
It may not be a lot, but district administrators said their hands are tied to offer any more.
"The truth of the matter is that we don't have the revenue coming in that we have had in the state," said Steve Salerno, associate superintendent of human resources at La Crosse School District. "As a result, we've had to strike a very difficult balance."
That balance includes a relatively small pay raise for teachers , and not all will receive the entire 2.24 percent - only teachers who have pursued a higher degree will qualify for a .93 pay increase that factors into the overall number.
At least one teacher doesn't agree with the district's math.
"There are lots of solutions to any problem, and you just have to find them," said John Havlicek, a Spanish teacher at Central High School. "Instead of, 'Can we afford to compensate all of our employees groups in a certain manner,' I would rather see the question be, 'How will we?'"
Neither side was full satisfied with the board's decision.
"This will be the hardest night of my professional career," Salerno said earlier in the day. "I've always been able to bring to the board a resolution that was amenable to both sides, and we just don't have the tools to do that."
Havlicek spoke at the board meeting - he also serves as the president of the La Crosse Educators Association. He said he wasn't giving up hope that the numbers will add up to more than just a small pay raise for his fellow teachers in the future.
"There's more than one way to solve this problem."