It always seems recently that teacher negotiations has been a challenge for our school system. It’s not always the easiest for me to follow, but I decided to do some homework and see what the problem is this year.
I spoke with two school board members, two teachers and one friend who is a principal in our school system.
The board members and teachers both told me the same thing: Salary was frozen and raises were not able to be given. They all agreed that the state was to blame. But the teachers have said that the board wants to change the salary structure entirely to make it more affordable. The teachers said the current salary structure has a “maximum” salary, but the board wants to
go with a “one-line” salary on which there is no maximum salary. That sounds pretty good, right? Well, not if the raises given are so small that the current maximum is never attainable on the new schedule! There’s no real potential if the board is going to keep moving the goalposts.
I knew I smelled something fishy when there were teachers who were asking for no raise so that newer teachers would be helped out of their last salary freeze. It’s rare to find such selflessness in a profession. Good on them!
At church, I spoke with some former school board members and they seemed disappointed in the current board members. One of them even said that our current board is anti-teacher and even that the executive sessions they hold in secret are unprofessional. It sure seems like it.
You can tell that I have come out in support of the teachers in this case. I am watching to see what happens and my vote for a future tax increase will be based on how this board treats its people. A mill levy increase for buildings will never, ever end (it’s true) – but the board can end the way they currently treat their people. No vote required for that!
And as for my friend, the principal, they are waiting for their next raises, too. Let’s just hope they are watching out for the newbies like our teachers are. Go Blue Jays!