Archive for Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Most Kansas school districts yet to secure teacher contracts

July 13, 2010


— Just weeks before school is scheduled to start, a majority of the state's school districts have not reached contract settlements with their teachers.

The Kansas Association of School Boards says 88 of the 289 districts had reached contract settlements with teachers' associations as of July 9.

The Hutchinson News reports that the association says that in those 88 districts, the median for base pay and fringe benefits for a returning teacher is $37,070. That's an increase of 1 percent from last year.

The biggest obstacle appears to be the cost of insurance. Haven Superintendent Patrick Call says a group of districts that buy insurance together have been told premiums would be going up 11.5 percent. But he says other districts have heard that rates were going up at least 30 percent.


anonyname 7 years, 11 months ago

Cue the rants about teachers only working a few hours each day and having summers off, right

Shardwurm 7 years, 11 months ago

If they don't like it they can quit and find jobs in the private sector. Right? I mean...that's the logic often floated about why they all need pay raises.

Our universities are cranking out teachers by the bushel-basketfuls who can't find work. Let the current ones quit. They likely won't be missed much.

And anonyname, you'd be surprised. I've talked to more than one teacher who actually admits they have it pretty good. 9 months of work, holidays, and 12 days of vacation a year and still make $37,000 (median) isn't all that bad a gig. The trouble is you have to be content with that lifestyle.

It's like going to work at McDonald's and wanting $50,000 a year to work the drive-thru. Don't go into a 'profession' that historically doesn't get paid much then cry when you don't earn enough. Not only that, paying teachers more isn't the answer to improving education. That's a fallacy.

citizenlame 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, being a teacher is awesome. On average, we spend about $100,000 on an education for a job that we know going in is only going to pay us $40,000 a year, at best. Benefits are good, depending on the district. If it's a poorer district (ironically where teachers are needed most) benefits are not as good. Being a teacher, I resent the comments from people, "well, if you're not happy with what we give you, then get another job...shouldn't complain with all the paid vacation you get, etc., etc." Let me offer a few counterpoints.

1) We don't get into the field for the money, but everyone can agree that teachers are underpaid. When you look at the level of education that most teachers have (and many many teachers have Masters Degrees) and compare the same level of education in other professions, our pay scale is much lower. Telling us that we should just expect that and deal with it is incredibly offensive to me. In other professions, when you advance your education, the expectation is that you will advance in salary, position, etc. I have a Master's Degree and I make only $500 more a year than the teachers with a Bachelor's degree only. It cost a lot more than $500 to get the Masters but I did it because I wanted to be a better teacher for the students. At the very least, I wanted to set a good example for them--show them that I was serious about my own education--hopefully inspire them to be serious about theirs.

2) I challenge anyone to teach (especially in a district like KCK) and then tell me that teachers get too much vacation time. Teaching is absolutely exhausting on every level (physically, mentally, emotionally) even when things go well in the classroom. The exhaustion is doubled, tripled, etc. when things do not go well (students misbehave, funding gets cut, layoffs ensue). Two months in the summer is just enough time to mentally prepare yourself to go through it all again with a new batch of kids, kids that expect you to be just as enthusiastic and passionate (if not more so) as you were with the last group of kids. Also, teachers have to maintain a license which for many requires professional development points earned through college credit. When would you like us to take these courses if not in the summer time? I suppose we could take it during the year but eventually something will have to give. Either I will be less effective in the classroom with your kids or less effective at home with mine...

citizenlame 7 years, 11 months ago

3) Teachers are under CONSTANT pressure to perform and much of their performance depends on the students' success. How many people have jobs where they go to work, do their job, and go home? How would you feel if you went into work tomorrow and your boss told you that your effectiveness as an employee was going to be judged almost entirely according to the performance of another person? Challenging, huh? Multiply that by about 90 (since we have to somehow motivate, teach, lead 90+ students) and you will start to have an idea of how difficult the job is. Oh, and by the way, their performance will be judged using a standardized test that you had no hand in writing and have no access to... All of the accountability and none of the power. Work a job like that with only two weeks a year off and tell me that you don't deserve more.

4) FACT: There is a direct correlation between student achievement and money invested in education. I agree that simply paying teachers more is not the fix-it solution to education but it is definitely part of the solution.

avoice 7 years, 11 months ago

1) Not all Master's Degrees are created equal. Many people have Master's Degrees in other fields and make the same or less than teachers do with their Master's Degrees. In the real -- commercial, working -- world, your degree and your investment to get it do not necessarily amount to a guarantee of any type of pay. It's all about supply and demand. You should have planned better and obtained a more valuable (i.e., more marketable) Master's Degree if you wanted better pay.

2) I challenge you to be a construction worker in the hot sun, the cold, the rain, the ice and snow, and receive little or no paid vacation or benefits. The exhaustion is doubled, tripled, etc. when things do not go well (concrete gets away from you, architects & engineers didn't figure the measurements or the grade right, the company lays people off so you either end up having to work twice as hard physcially, mentally, etc. or have no job at all). This is just one example. Pick from numerous job descriptions and you will find that teachers don't really have it so bad. You need to just do your job or get out of the profession and find something that is more satisfying (if, indeed, you are capable of being satisfied with anything less than a perfect world).

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Actually, many jobs like construction worker pay better than teaching, ironically. Blue-collar unions have been pretty effective at negotiating with their employers.

The point is that if we value good teachers (who are now a combination of teacher, baby-sitter, social worker, etc.) we should compensate them well.

volunteer 7 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence teachers have it better than many, at least at the high school level. Only five periods a day, meaning that 1/5 of the day is for plannning/grading. Early dismissal on Wednesdays for "collaboration, " (which is not being done at LHS in my friend's department except for the first few Wednesdays of the year; i.e. more plan time). A THOUSAND bucks a year increase for each year of experience and each educational lane advanacement up to the maximum allowed. (10 years, 10 lanes I think)

Moreover, many believe that teaching is a good job to have in a Recession. Yes there will be more students in class, and in a year LHS will have seven periods, so less plan time and more preps. In other words, a schedule most Kansas high schools have had for years.

Most teachers I know would trade a few hundred bucks salary for good kids, smaller class size, and a good principal. Maybe that is how the rural districts keep teachers despite such low salaries. (Valley Falls', for example, is easily found online; Lawrence teachers would be shocked at the relatively lousy pay scale)

iLikelawrence 7 years, 11 months ago

I just want a job. Be happy those who read this have one. Even if you don't like it because of one trivial reason or another- you have a job. Many don't.

Be thankful. Be good. Do your best. Suck it up.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.