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How much do you think Lawrence school teachers should make?

Asked at Checkers, 2300 La. on October 1, 2005

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Photo of Kelly Lotterhos

“Fifty thousand a year. They probably aren’t getting paid nearly enough, and they have a very important job.”

Photo of Jim Hamilton

“I’d say around $30,000 to start, but I think it should increase quickly. If they get good results, their salary should go up to about $40,000 within five years.”

Photo of Thom Hepford

“I think they should start at $30,000, and it should be adjusted every year for the cost of living and inflation with eligibility for merit raises.”

Photo of Rose Vannatta

“Twenty-five thousand to $30,000, because of all the stuff they have to put up with.”

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bankboy119 12 years, 5 months ago

And what kind of neighborhood are those people in....? We've been through this before.

bankboy119 12 years, 5 months ago

Unions prove that higher pay doesn't equal higher quality.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago



(Son of a Teamster and AFT had to expect that, right?!!?) ; )

Lulu 12 years, 5 months ago

Teachers need to be paid what a brain surgeon gets paid. It'll be a great day when the schools have all the money they need and the Pentagon has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago


I appreciated everything you stated in your post. Very well-written and some great points there.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 5 months ago

... And yet again, we've come full circle. [I swear I've seen this question before.]

How much should Lawrence policemen make? How much should Lawrence city commisioners make? How much should's On The Street interviewers make?

l_eustacy 12 years, 5 months ago

Start at $30,000 and top out at $75,000. The Lawrence district pays less than most surrounding districts. That is why we've lost so many teachers to Blue Valley school district. Even after paying to drive, it's still considerably higher there. One good example: Avian Bear one of the best band teachers (Freestate) around and now she's in Blue Valley. What she could do with the marching band - wow! Good teachers don't just work for the love of what they do. They're going to follow the money too. BTW, Lawrence administrators make too much. The head of the food service makes $20,000 more than the highest paid teacher in Lawrence- that's nuts!

If we paid the teachers what we spent on roundabouts...

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

GreenEyedBlues inquired about what a Lawrence police officer "should make?"

Does anybody know the beginning salaries for police officers and/or firefighters in Lawrence or the Douglas County area? I would be interested to see how they compare to other public servant positions.

enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

This issue demonstrates a classic problem of socialized services when compared with private services. We set up elementary and secondary education to be paid for by everyone through taxes, so that no child would be denied an education because their parents couldn't afford it. This is the great benefit of socialized services - they are available to all free of charge. The problem is those who deliver the services are often underpaid and there is little incentive to provide quality services because there are often no rewards for exceptional work and no costs for inferior work. It is not like you are going to go out of business if your competition in the private sector out performs you.

So, since the natural forces that bring out superior performance in the private sector are not present, the government who governs the public schools has to create consequences to bring out superior performance. Now, in a republic the primary reason they would want to do that is to please their constituency so that they can keep their jobs. To set up these rewards they need money which means raising taxes which is often very unpopular with the voters. So, government officials often wait until things get bad enough in a school system to where the public is willing to bite the bullet and pay higher taxes so that they can have acceptable education. This leaves most school districts hovering in mediocrity.

There are a few exceptions to this where there are exceptional school districts. These occur in areas where the elected officials are on top of things and are setting up significant consequences for teachers based on their performance. They successfully raise the money to be able to pay their good teachers well. Everyone thinks good teachers should be paid better, but do we have the resolve to pay higher taxes to make this possible and do we trust those who have the power to set up contingencies for performance to do it?

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

Hey thanks l_eustacy...much appreciated.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

Well folks, my 3rd cup of coffee is downed...

...ESPN's College Gameday is about wrapped up...

...and I see the Longhorns of Texas are in Columbia today, kicking-off in about 12 minutes. I'm out for now.

Hook 'em Horns!!!

gccs14r 12 years, 5 months ago

"If we paid the teachers what we spent on roundabouts..."

No kidding. I went through the one on Clinton Parkway today (yesterday). Why? Why did the city put that there? I have yet to traverse one of our traffic obfuscators and think, "Gee. It's a good thing that was there." I used to live on Monterey Way and still can't figure out why a roundabout is preferable to the T intersection at Harvard. It's not as if no one could turn left there.

A few days ago I went through the 19th & Barker mess and about got hit twice, once by a bicyclist on the sidwalk who thought he had the right-of-way and once by the sshole behind me who was pssed that I stopped for the idiot on the bicycle. It's enough to make me want to mount a rotary cannon (or, preferably, photon torpedoes) to my truck. If I didn't think that traffic obfuscators were preferable to runaway development, I'd vote for the other idiots instead of the current ones. The People just can't win these days.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

They're all mixed demographics...the schools are funded by a 65% mixture of property, corporate and industrial taxes.

Add that to the fact that the teachers can hold-out during the collective bargaining process and the numbers don't reflect the demographic of the neighborhood at all. (i.e. Leyden, the 2nd school on the list was my high school district...I can promise you no alluring neighorhood at all. Blue-collar through-and-through.)

lunacydetector 12 years, 5 months ago

gccs14r, i think the new roundabout you drove through on clinton pkwy was paid for by one of those evil developers. i thought growth never pays -that's a lie we've been hearing for a few years now - but they had to pay.

as for the teacher deal, pay for performance. i attended lawrence schools and there were some BAD teachers. i won't name names but i used to be a great public speaker until i had a really big and smelly hippy type teacher at LHS. he ridiculed almost every word i used and interrupted me constantly. to this day, i can no longer give a speach in front of a crowd. i think this teacher eventually received the 'teacher of the year' award. i don't know who picks them because that guy was a loser in my book. also makes me question people who get public awards, because that big *ss isn't the only loser i've seen get some kind of public award.

since teachers only work 9 months out of the year, that needs to be taken into consideration. the administration or school board needs to stop spending money at every turn on new stuff and pay the teachers (who are truly good) more money -if they're not making enough.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

Top 100 Administrator Salaries in the State of Illinois--2004

Administrator Name Salary District Name

Hintz James $302,746 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Rauch Lynne E $289,404 SCHAUMBURG C C SCHOOL DIST 54 Bangser Henry S $288,000 NEW TRIER TWP H S DIST 203 Howard Robert T $285,780 COMM CONS SCH DIST 59 Patton Ronald C $280,828 BLOOM TWP HIGH SCH DIST 206 Longo Margaret W $280,417 PUFFER HEFTY SCHOOL DIST 69 Ward Christopher J. $277,215 LOCKPORT TWP HS DIST 205 Baskin Lawrence M $277,206 GLEN ELLYN C C SCHOOL DIST 89 Mckinzie Gail $276,385 INDIAN PRAIRIE C U SCH DIST 204 Kersten Thomas $268,534 SKOKIE SCHOOL DIST 68 Smoot Michael $255,744 WOOD DALE SCHOOL DISTRICT 7 Bers L Mitchell $252,508 MEDINAH SCHOOL DISTRICT 11 Miller Roger $251,040 HINSDALE TWP H S DIST 86 Maier Allan $249,682 SKOKIE SCHOOL DIST 69 Weber Dorothy M $248,803 GLENVIEW C C SCHOOL DIST 34 Ennis Elizabeth A $248,355 TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DIST 214 Upchurch James D $246,027 ARBOR PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT 145 Vanderbogert M R $244,457 WINNETKA SCHOOL DIST 36 Murray Laura $244,422 HOMEWOOD FLOSSMOOR C H S D 233 Conti Dennis R $238,422 WOODLAND C C SCHOOL DIST 50 Guziec Scott S $236,837 LINCOLNSHIRE-PRAIRIEVIEW S D 103 Parks C Douglas $236,802 APTAKISIC-TRIPP C C S DIST 102 Hyland Timothy F. $236,758 GLENBARD TWP H S DIST 87 Catalani Gary $232,511 COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DIST 200 Kelly Dennis G $231,996 LYONS TWP H S DIST 204 Marks Linda $229,869 GOLF ELEM SCHOOL DIST 67 Neale Connie $228,571 SCHOOL DISTRICT 46 Manning Tyra L $226,264 RIVER FOREST SCHOOL DIST 90 Giles J Kay $225,279 PRAIRIE-HILLS ELEM SCH DIST 144 Mcgowan William E $224,196 CITY OF CHICAGO SCHOOL DIST 299

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

Top 100 Teacher Salaries in the State of Illinois--2004

Teacher Name Salary District Name

Kniaz Ronald E $173,077 CITY OF CHICAGO SCHOOL DIST 299 Duffey George L $167,389 LEYDEN COMM H S DIST 212 Gregorin Thomas $161,189 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Isleb Jo Ann $158,539 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Colmar Darlene $157,905 NORTHFIELD TWP HIGH SCH DIST 225 Taylor Robert L $157,781 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Plank Margaret $154,340 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Sullivan Eugene $152,914 OAK LAWN COMM H S DIST 229 Hoffman Jack J $152,731 MAINE TOWNSHIP H S DIST 207 Poznansky Steven R $151,969 NILES TWP COMM HIGH SCH DIST 219 Killinger William G $151,608 TOWNSHIP H S DIST 211 Kay George Arnie $151,113 COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DIST 155 Carpenter Albert S $149,450 NEW TRIER TWP H S DIST 203 Urick Ronald $149,325 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Blundy Douglas M $149,223 COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DIST 155 Raffaelli Philip $148,544 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Kennedy Feder Dell $147,922 NORTHFIELD TWP HIGH SCH DIST 225 Malinsky Douglas E. $147,384 LOCKPORT TWP HS DIST 205 Murphy William A $147,180 COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DIST 155 Burke Timothy R $146,675 NORTHFIELD TWP HIGH SCH DIST 225 Boyum Richard $146,430 TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DIST 113 Miller Carol $146,246 NORTHFIELD TWP HIGH SCH DIST 225 Alia Catherine $145,954 CITY OF CHICAGO SCHOOL DIST 299 Recker Mark A $145,568 NILES TWP COMM HIGH SCH DIST 219 Ewert Deborah $145,136 TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DIST 113 Chamberlain Charles M $144,929 TOWNSHIP H S DIST 211 Upson Charles W $144,673 FENTON COMM H S DIST 100 Maloney Nancy $144,643 NILES TWP COMM HIGH SCH DIST 219 Howe Gregory W $144,492 BREMEN COMM H S DISTRICT 228 Hoffman Isaac I $144,422 NILES TWP COMM HIGH SCH DIST 219 Bilodeau Charles $144,340 ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125 Johnson Kenneth L $144,105 TOWNSHIP H S DIST 211 Nelson Bradley $143,639 LYONS TWP H S DIST 204 Mausehund Roger $143,555 LEYDEN COMM H S DIST 212 Yakel John Jr $143,412 DU PAGE HIGH SCHOOL DIST 88 Brosseau Michael $142,852 DU PAGE HIGH SCHOOL DIST 88 Moon Edward C $142,690 TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DIST 214

1derer 12 years, 5 months ago

Sheesh!!! Its already started. The Illinois Report. I don't even bother to read them anymore. Could anything be less relevant to Douglas County? Do you also post on a Chicago newspaper's site? If not, why not? We all know that you are an educator (after being told so over and over again) but we did not enroll in one of your classes. Now all we need is the European Report so we can marvel at their greatness and try to be just like Illinois but adding European high-lights.

Teachers are underpaid in Lawrence. Start around 30 and increase with merit evaluations.


Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago


...I like that 1derer, "The Illinois Report!"

But to answer your question, I do leave some posts in the Chicago Tribune and one local paper citing how things are done in Kansas.

I think it's important to learn what others do...unfortunately for me, I can only report on Kansas/Kansas City and Illinois/Chicagoland area. Hey, it's a start--some people have no exposure to any other way-of-life except where they're from.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

You nailed it OTR...I gave up an administrative desire a long time ago!!!

l_eustacy 12 years, 5 months ago

Police: As of January 1, 2005, The Lawrence Police Department was authorized to have 138 sworn police officers, 16 clerical personnel, 1 records manager, 5 parking control officers, 3 animal control officers, 1 management analyst, 3 computer analysis, and 1 assistant to the Chief of Police.

Salary: For Police Officers, as of January 1, 2005, the salary range is $36,670 - $61,590 annually.

Statistics*: City Population - 88,145

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

TOB--I have searched and searched for a website that would list the top KS teacher salaries, but have come up short each time.

The website I cited was created by a conservative watchdog group that is attempting to tackle and dispel liberal issues/organizations' farces. One of their primary campaigns is to put pressure on the teacher unions and taxpayers in Illinois for their outrageous spending on teacher salaries and retirement packages. They believe the money should be allocated to other areas--which, teacher or not, I believe could be the case too! In a retirement year or after 25 years of service, I am stunned that a teacher can seriously earn an average salary of $120,000, minimum. But the selfish part of me hopes it never changes either.

Hilary Morton 12 years, 5 months ago

I am a teacher, yes, living in Lawrence, and teaching in a district that pays well. I wish people understood that teachers don't work 9 months of the year. We definitely don't get 3 months for summer. We get about 1 and a half. During that 1 and a half month off, I know I attend about 3 conferences in the summer, and go work at the school at least once a week in the summer. It's not as blissful as you think, and although it's great to have a little time off, good teachers never stop working. There's always something to prepare for. Teachers should start out at $50,000, and then you'll have fabulous teachers around. If we create a competitive job market, we'll get rid of those "bad teachers" quite easily.
My two cents.

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

With NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, these teachers get NO breaks! They are scrutinized more than CEOs in a corporation. They are not paid enough. $50k/year is a START, at least. They have to go to conferences to revamp their knowledge, prepare lessons, & deal with discipline issues. IDIOTIC ADMINISTRATORS here in Lawrence (I am not talking about Weseman), OTR, need to cut the crap. They need to be fired for allowing the red tape to get out of control. The red tape with which teachers put up HAS TO GET CUT. Some of the administrators who NEED to cut the red tape are just sitting around collecting big bucks of of yours & my TAXES. All this crap that teachers take three months off, those who say it, PROVE IT!

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

By the way, at my place of employment, last summer, two people, a school counselor, & a TEACHER had to work part time. So eat dust, those of you who say, "teachers take three months off".

Larry 12 years, 5 months ago

Do other public servants get paid for work outside their contract hours? Not sure, but I think police officers do their reports while on the clock. I'll bet teachers would like to be paid for working into the wee hours of the night/morning. I recall trying to go to sleep at night as my Dad (a teacher) typed at his typewriter into the wee hours of the night. Stacks of papers followed him home over the weekend and he was gone for several weeks during the summer while driving an hour each way to the closest college campus to take required recertification courses. My Mom had a full time job as a house wife/mother. Guess what? Due to my Dad's inflated/over paid teachers salary, we were eligible for free/reduced lunch program. He even had a master's degree in education. Believe me - it is tough on male teachers to support their families. Pay a base of at least 45,000 to 50,000 and determine raises by some sort of incentive plan - not by "if you have a contract, you get a raise".

As for making teacher raises continuant on student scores. Fine and dandy. Let's do the same for doctors. Their salary is based on the health of their clients. Same for firefighters - their raises will now be based on the percentage drop in fires fought. Same for police officers - they will be paid by the percentage drop in murders, traffic violations, crime rate in general. I mean "REALLY", if these professionals are doing their job in educating the public, we'll see results in the statistics. What's that? It would be impossible for doctors to force patients to take care of themselves, impossible for police officers to force people to obey the law, impossible for firefighters to make people alert to potential fire hazards, impossible for teachers to force kids and parents to require study times, plenty of rest, complete home work assignments, pay attention in class, BE AT CLASS, etc. Wait a second. There is a strong correlation here. It appears that we are requiring more from our teachers or is it that they are the publics scapegoat.

bhanson 12 years, 5 months ago

I want to preface this statement by saying I am a teacher. I don't think most taxpayers would be opposed to raising teachers' salaries if they knew that money was going to quality teachers. As teachers we made the "Devils Bargain" years ago and accepted lower salaries in return for a huge amount of job security. Teaching is the only profession I know of where you gat a raise for growing a year older whether you deserve the raise or not. I you are looking to place blame for low teachers salaries start with the teachers union. First of all we don't not have a union we have a group of people with no bargaining power what so ever. The best thing that can happen to a school district is to have teachers working off of last year's contract, it saves then money. The law prohibits us from striking as a way to demand better wages. The unions also need to spend less time protecting horrible teachers and go to work to increase pay for the good ones. I would love to see a merit based pay system but the comment Even Money makes about parents voting on who gets the pay is absolutely ludicrous. What you are saying is let's take people who have no ides how the education profession works and have them make decisions on salaries. That's like saying I watch Law and Order so I should be able to vote on how much public defenders make. What happens when a student earns an F and the teacher stands his or her ground and gives the student the grade he or she earned? That parent would not vote for a raise regardless of how good the teacher is. The job description for teachers also increases every year. I am no longer just a history teacher and a coach. I am also a father figure, a role model, a first responder, a mandatory reporter, psychologist, a dream maker and dream crusher. I am also responsible for teaching students about morals, drugs, alcohol, sex, and many other social issues that kids now have thrown in their face. And when a kid goes bad, it's not the parents fault, it's the schools.

Larry 12 years, 5 months ago

Does the general public realize that we have local districts that don't even provide full health insurance to teachers? I'm not talking family insurance. I'm talking insurance for the teachers in the district. I have a brother who gets $100.00 per month towards his health insurance (which I believe is $250.00 or so per month. WOW - thank you school district. If he wanted to cover his wife and kids, he would have to pay an additional 600.00 or so in premiums. That is about a 1/4 to 1/3 of his monthly check. And we claim that teaching is one of the most important professions. Sounds all talk to me. The state could make many teachers happy by covering both the teacher and his/her family with good health insurance. Put every teacher in the state on the same plan so they can offset each others expenses. Of course the money hunger insurance companies don't want this because it would cut into their profits.

heretoday 12 years, 5 months ago

Call Sandy Prager or the Kansas Insurance Department. There are many deserving fellows out there who cannot get coverage and the longer that you are without..the harder it is to get affordable insurance down the line. I can't believe that there is not a better margin or plan for people the age of 21-25. Once you get off of your parents insurance you are in a hell of a limbo until you secure a good job. Unless you get hit by a train or develop serious insurance plans don't pay or help with jack. There needs to be better alternatives for those who Cannot secure a job while in school that offers a group plan and Cannot be on their folks' plan any longer. Believe me.... I have been caught in this inferno of a loophole and it has built over 12,000+ in the past 1 1/2 years in medical bills that should have been covered by medicare or some form of school insurance plan. ON TOP of student loans. But...Like Larry said...Money HUngry Insurance Companies don't think about the little people like that and later will not pick you up because they see you as a liability!

Debbie Klinger Limones 12 years, 5 months ago

There are a few teachers at Prairie Park I wouldn't give two cents for. One teacher recently said that the only reason they became a teacher was because of three months during the summer. Perhaps some irresponsible teachers who conveniently have "attention deficit" secretly consider teaching a pud job but whine when the raises aren't there. I think raises should be based on recommendation from parents.

Jessica Small 12 years, 5 months ago

While teachers need to make more having them start at $50,000 is crazy. All you need is a pretty easy 5 year degree. I went to Lawrence High and feel that it is sad they are losing some of the best and most experienced teachers but that doesn't mean some 22 year old kid fresh out of college should get more than 35,000 a year (which is probably better than they get now but not that much).

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

Everyone, Once again, we're gonna have to provide backdrop for why we're here. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND screwed the schools, the legislature HERE in Kansas bled to death because they CLAIMED they had no money for the schools, then the Supreme Court said otherwise. Now, teachers are not paid enough because of the LOUSY red tape imposed by almost ALL (not Mr. Weseman) administrators here in Lawrence. The bureaucratic red tape of USD 497 has to STOP! If that means the H.R. Executive Director gets fired for NOT providing solid expertise to these salary negotiations, so be it. The RED TAPE in Lawrence HAS TO GO! Then, we KICK out those in our Legislature who voted against additional funding for schools. Accountability starts at the top & it better start NOW!

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

By the way, if it appears I am yelling, I am so fed up with people in positions of leadership who are NOT held accountable. The low level workers, like the teachers end up as scapegoats. Times have changed, you who are in power, YOU better buckle down or you're out of a job!

bankboy119 12 years, 5 months ago

hanson that's the problem. You should not be parenting the children. I am so thankful I can afford to keep my child out of the public school system. She will not go to an institution that teaches what I do not believe. Horrible waste of my taxpayer money.

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

bankboy, is it your belief then that NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND is flawed? Is that why you are keeping your child out of public schools? NCLB is an unfunded mandate that must be scrapped from the law books.

brainfodder 12 years, 5 months ago

Actually, kippy, I am an 8th year teacher with 20+ graduate hours beyond that I paid for. I am making roughly $30,900. I have a part time job to pay for my extra expenses, like food and gas. I don't have a master's degree yet because I can only afford one class at a time. I agree, 50k may be too much, and certainly to start. But Lawrence needs to realize that despite the fact that education is a socialized institution, it is competitive from community to community, and Lawrence no longer competes in the salary department. I have a kid now, and I need to drop the extra job to spend time being a dad. Another district may end up being the solution, but I hope not. The quality of child in this town is incredible. Compensation of other sorts might be a viable solution, but they involve community and university support. Reduced costs to continue education through KU or Baker would be great, and improve the quality of the teaching. Access to KU's gym facilities would improve overall health and potentially lower insurance costs for the district. Even scheduling bus routes to go by the schools early enough for teachers to use them would help out.

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

Brain, Exactly my point, you have a kid, & the fact that Lawrence is NOT competitive enough with other communities makes our resolve now more important than ever. You are having a problem getting that Master's degree? You are NOT being paid enough & why? I don't know how much your prospective Master's degree program will cost you, but I guarantee you, the administrative WASTE in USD 497 is way out of control. That is what has to STOP!

Richard Heckler 12 years, 5 months ago

rhd99: your CEO and teacher comment brought something to mind. If a CEO is forced out for any number of reasons some can walk away with as much as $39,000,000 even if they mismanage a company. We consumers are paying for that nonsense.

When I get on my more money rant for public schools my focus is teacher salaries and classroom supplies. It is all too common for teachers, whatever their salaries, purchasing supplies without reimbursemment. Some purchases are for students from financially challenged families.

Younger(new) teachers can be very good however experience also is worth a few extra bucks. Just like any other profession some are going teach better than others so apply the tax dollars accordingly. At the moment I am not overly concerned about superintendent's salary.

Lulu 12 years, 5 months ago

Teachers either make more money or more students get put on Ritalin.

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