A group of some 100 teachers has sued the Ogden School District, saying the district breached the contract and owes more than $500,000 in back pay.

The lawsuit filed in 2nd District Court claims the district has been paying teachers on the wrong steps of the salary scale in some cases for as long as seven years.District officials and Ogden Education Association officers have been negotiating for several weeks to settle what originally was a clerical error. But earlier this month the teachers voted down three different settlement offers from the district.

They also voted to file the lawsuit to keep the statute of limitations from running out. By law, suits alleging breach of contract must be filed within six years, said Ann Moulton, president of the education association.

"We have been and are continuing to negotiate with the district," Moulton said.

Education association officials contend any settlement needs to be in the range of more than $500,000, but Ogden Superintendent Michael Paskewicz wouldn't comment on the amount.

Moulton would not disclose details about the district's settlement offers rejected by teachers.

Paskewicz said he does not worry that the lawsuit signals a loss of teacher confidence over negotiations.

"I'm very confident we'll get this worked out," Paskewicz said.

The suit said the district in June 1990 knocked its lowest salary step out of its salary schedule "as a way to make employment more appealing" with the district. New teachers with no experience who previously would have started on step one started at step two.

But some teachers with experience coming into the district also started on step two "accidentally," Moulton said, while others with more experience who should have started on step four, for example, started on step three.

To renumber all the steps to reflect the policy change in 1990 would have changed too many classifications for the district's 700-plus teachers, she said.

"It's a clerical mistake and not a problem caused by the current superintendency or the current school board," Moulton said.

The suit seeks an unnamed sum to cover the approximately 100 teachers' "lost salary, benefits, retirement and other benefits they were entitled to receive."