To the editor:
It is often said and often assumed that the people of Lawrence value public education. Allow me to share some numbers that may be of interest. USD 497's starting salary for a teacher is $26,825. The latest board proposal for 2006 is $29,425. For comparison, the starting salary in Olathe is $33,230; Shawnee Mission: $31,777; DeSoto: $33,000; Blue Valley: $33,208, and Wellsville: $31,000.
After teaching 25 years and earning a master's degree, a Lawrence teacher earns $41,762. The same teacher in Olathe earns $53,989; in Shawnee Mission, $47,303; DeSoto, $43,770, Blue Valley, $47,567, and Wellsville, $48,775.
Statewide, Lawrence teachers ranked 48th in salary in 2003-04. By comparison, Lawrence administrators ranked 25th in salary, and our superintendent ranked 10th.
The Lawrence school board states that recruitment and retention of the highest quality teachers is a top priority. With teachers' salaries up to $12,000 less than surrounding districts, and the wide discrepancy between teacher and administrative salary rankings, it appears they have a long way to go.