DUBLIN -- A contract agreement for Dublin school teachers will increase their base salary schedule by 3 percent and provide an extra 1 percent bonus that could become a permanent boost in a year.

The one-year contract for the 2013-14 school year also calls for the Dublin Unified School District to survey community reaction to the possibility of starting the school year earlier -- in early August instead of late August. School administrators say the earlier school year would give students more time to prepare for standardized tests given in mid-May.

The agreement covering 397 teachers was unanimously approved June 11 by the Dublin School Board. The Dublin Teachers Association had approved the deal a week earlier by a 95 percent vote.

"We believe this is a fair agreement that will allow the district to continue to focus on student learning while meeting the needs of our teachers, our most important resource," said Stephen Hanke, the district superintendent.

"It's an overall positive," said Roberta Kreitz, co-president of the Dublin Teachers Association. "It's been years since teachers got any increase in the salary schedule."

The extra compensation came in three elements of a package deal. Under the agreement, a 1.5 percent bonus given to teachers last year for working more lesson planning days will be transformed into a 1.5 percent permanent increase in the base salary schedule, effective June 30. Teachers get an additional 1.5 percent on July 1, bringing the permanent pay boost to 3 percent.

The teachers will also get a 1 percent bonus, which would become a permanent increase in the salary schedule on June 2014, contingent upon the district getting certain school funding under a new state school finance plan. Hanke said teachers will see a net 2.5 increase in their actual paychecks. Greg Tomlinson, the Dublin school board president, said the agreement continues the district momentum in improving education and standardized test scores.

"We want to pay the teachers as much as possible while keeping the district solvent," he said.

Dublin teacher salaries range from a low of $54,346 annually for a beginning teacher to a high of $93,232 annually for a teacher with 24 years of experience and a maximum of extra educational credits, according to the school district. Tomlinson said he is encouraged that teachers and administrators will seek community reaction to the idea of making the school year start and end earlier.

"This also would align our schedule more with college schedules," Tomlinson said.

The new contract provides language for the school district to work toward increasing the 16 annual collaboration days during which teachers work together to plan school lessons and develop their best teaching techniques. The contract also provides language to bolster school intervention programs to help students who are slow learners or falling behind, Hanke said.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.

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