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Rapid City Area School teachers, librarians, counselors, therapists and other district employees will receive a $700 raise after the school board approved a deal with the teacher’s union at their meeting Monday night.

The decision comes just days after a state administrative-law judge recommended adoption of the district’s position in the negotiations, which was to give a $700 raise to roughly 1,000 employees in the teachers’ union, called the Rapid City Education Association. The union had sought stepped pay increases of up to $2,000 for teachers in their first six years on the job, plus $700 pay increases for those beyond their sixth year.

The judge’s ruling, handed down by Michelle Faw of the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation, issued a written recommendation in favor of the school district on Jan. 18.

“RCAS believes that providing the $700.00 per teacher while also focusing on repairs and the school strategic plan is fair and allows RCAS to resolve competing interests,” Faw wrote. 

Sue Podoll, a teacher and president of the union, told the Journal last week that she was unsurprised by the judge’s recommendation.

“They don’t tend to tell districts where they should spend their money,” Podoll said. She said the association would now shift its focus to contract negotiations for the next school year. 

The average teacher salary in Rapid City public schools during the 2017-18 school year was $50,946, according to information published by the state Department of Education.

Contact Samuel Blackstone at samuel.blackstone@rapidcityjournal.com and follow him on Twitter or Facebook @SDBlackstone.

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