LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville public school teachers will receive a 4% raise starting with the upcoming 2022-23 school year as part of a tentative agreement between their union and Kentucky's largest school district.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and the Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) announced the new salary structure in a news conference Friday at the VanHoose Education Center in Louisville. Superintendent Marty Pollio said it's the largest across-the-board salary increase in 15 years.

"This is something that is deserved," he said. "Our teachers and our educators in JCPS deserve this. It's overdue, and we're glad to be able to give it to them."

In addition to the across-the-board raises, teachers will receive a continuity stipend of $1,000 for the upcoming school year and a salary supplement for working in the district's Accelerated Improvement Schools and at schools in Choice Zones, part of the new JCPS student assignment plan. That supplement will range between $8,000 and $14,000, Pollio said.

"Having teachers in the classroom and meeting the needs of kids immediately is what we have to do," Pollio said. "Getting our teachers compensated — getting them in the classroom, right now in August — is our primary goal."

The $1,000 stipend, acquired from the Elementary And Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), equates to about a 1.5% of the average JCPS teacher salary, JCTA President Brent McKim said.

All that is in addition to teachers' annual step increases, based on the normal district salary structure. 

But Pollio said it could be difficult to sustain these raises down the road. He called on state legislators to allocate more money to the district from the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding program.  

"I challenge the legislature to step up and increase SEEK funding and do it at the next session," he said.

Of the 4% raise, only about 1% of the money comes from state funding.

"(Legislators) have to do that in a way that provides recurring, ongoing funding that you can count on," McKim said.

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