To the editor:
Ms. Shurtz is understandably upset about having to pay fees for her children to ride the bus to school. She asks "what were the city and county thinking?" The answer is, they weren't thinking anything. School fees are set by the school district. The district is largely funded by the state. In case Ms. Shurtz didn't notice, our state budget is in bad shape and lawmakers did very little to solve the problem.
Ms. Shurtz asks if those who raised fees think her paycheck goes up to compensate. Ms. Shurtz, when the state fails to fund schools even at the rate of inflation, do you think the district can simply print their own money?
Ms. Shurtz says we want bigger paychecks. You can bet your bus fees we do, and without shame. I have taught in this district for six years. In that time I have never had an increase in take-home pay that kept up with inflation. In essence, I have had a pay cut every year. Many of us work supplemental assignments to earn more, but that decreases our pay rate (How many jobs pay LESS for overtime?) I have also seen a great exodus of quality teachers leaving Lawrence for other districts.
I am thrilled to have a superintendent and a school board who realize that teachers, not buses, are the key to excellent schools. When it comes to attracting and retaining quality teachers, like anything else, you get what you pay for.