Starting pay for teachers in Granite School District will be nearly $42,000 in the upcoming school year under an agreement approved by the school board Tuesday. The teachers' association ratified the pact late last week.
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SOUTH SALT LAKE — Starting pay for teachers in Granite School District will be nearly $42,000 in the upcoming school year under an agreement approved by the school board Tuesday. The teachers' association ratified the pact late last week.

The agreement also includes a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment and a one-time 1 percent bonus for all educators.

"With our benefit plan continuing to be one of the better ones in the education industry in the state — lower premiums and better coverage — at the end of the day we feel comfortable that we're fairly comparable if not above some of our competition," said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley.

To bolster its benefit package, the school district plans to open a medical clinic where employees can receive "Instacare-type services" at no cost, Horsley said.

The clinic will also feature a drug dispensary, so if a Granite School District employee were to take their child to the clinic for a strep throat test, they would be dispensed antibiotics for the child's care on site at no cost.

A former LDS seminary building at Valley Junior High in West Valley City will be renovated as clinic space.

The clinic will be placed on the west side of the school district because "we actually did a heat map on where most of our employees lived, and that's where it's going to be," he said.

If cost savings are realized, there are plans to open a second clinic in the future, he said.

With the raise, the starting salary for teachers in the district was set at $41,920, while at the top of the scale, an educator with a doctorate degree and at least 20 years teaching will earn $81,070.

Last year, the school board voted to raise property taxes to fund educator pay raises, largely to compete for teachers. Meanwhile, other school districts that offered raises dipped into fund balances to fund them, Horsley said.

Granite's approach helped stabilize its core of mid-career teachers. "We actually picked up about 233 contracts from other districts," he said.

"I don't expect that type of gravitation this year. But to say there's not a teacher shortage would be a myth. It's still pretty significant competition out there."