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Monday, May 16, 2011

Local teachers to get a one-time bonus

This article from the Sierra Vista Herald on 11 May 2011 generated a lot of readers' comments. I'll post it all here.

Teachers will get 1-time bonus
By Adam Curtis

SIERRA VISTA — In an effort to mitigate an ever-tightening pinch to district staff’s pocket books, the Sierra Vista Unified School District Governing Board unanimously approved a one-time signing bonus on Tuesday night for all returning employees.

The bonus carries a total cost of $675,000 and will be split 60/40 between certified and classified staff members who sign contracts for next year. Board members reminded the public during a well-attended regular meeting that this bonus is long overdue considering staff salaries have been frozen for three years while their health care and, more recently, state retirement costs have increased.

The board also passed the first budget revision for the current year, and Director of Financial Services Michelle Quiroz explained how conservative budgeting combined with relatively good news from the state enabled the district to offer the bonus.

While the district knows it faces an estimated mid-year reduction from the state of $647,000, staff had prepared for worse by setting aside about $1.6 million in unallocated funds for this year, Quiroz said. Newly available federal Education Jobs program grant money can essentially be used to absorb the state reduction, freeing up the unallocated money to help enrich employee pay instead of simply protecting it from reductions.

Board member Hal Thomas noted that the three-year salary freeze and a reduction in the district’s contribution to employee health care benefits last year have cost employees much more than the bonus will cover.

“This is an attempt to recoup some of that for them. It’s not nearly enough, I’d like to see it be at least twice that much, but we don’t have it,” Thomas said.

The bonus will equate to about $1,035 for each certified employee and $680 for each classified employee.

“Hopefully, that will answer the question whether we care about our teachers,” board president Don Rothery said. “We always have, we always will. I agree with what Hal said, it’s just a drop in the bucket.”

The budget revision reduced the district’s spending limit for the current year by about $365,630, leaving the budget at about $33.07 million for the current year ending June 30. While the district can spend that amount, the state has continued its recent practice of rolling over many of its actual monetary payments until the following budget year.

Anticipating another rollover in June, Quiroz said the state has deferred five of its 12 equalization payments in order to balance its own budget this year. That means the state owes the district about $8.3 million in actual funds used to support the budget and Quiroz doubts they will pay the full amount.

“Will we ever get that? Probably not,” Quiroz said. “Will we continue to see rollovers? Absolutely.”

While many districts have had to register warrants or request lines of credit from the county treasurers, Sierra Vista has been able to pay its bills without them so far, Quiroz said.

“This is just so not generally accepted accounting principals, it’s not a good thing,” Board member Deb Scott said. Her big fear is also that the state will end up saying it does not have enough money to cover the payments it owes and will simply not pay them.

In that case, property taxes would skyrocket, as the state would essentially shift its share of the burden to fund school district budgets onto the backs of local tax payers, Quiroz said.

STEM Charter School

The district will explore the possibility of sponsoring a seventh-12th-grade Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics focused charter school at the former Apache Middle School campus.

The board unanimously approved a work session with legal council to explore the legal and educational benefits of this idea during Tuesday’s meeting. The board work session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, June 10 in the district administration building.

“This has certainly been one of my priorities since we made the vote to close Apache Middle School,” board member Deb Scott said. “I think it’s prudent on our part. It’s something we’ve been talking about and certainly the community is talking about STEM schools for seven through 12. … I know for a fact we meet those needs exceptionally well but this may be a way to show the community that we meet it even better than we currently do.”

Board member Hal Thomas is in favor of revising the district’s programs so they can offer a more narrow focus for students who know what they want to do.

Board member Nancy Richardson lamented that art is just as important as the typical STEM subjects and wanted to incorporate it into the discussion regarding a new school.

Superintendent Brett Agenbroad recently attended the 98th Arizona Town Hall and walked away with the understanding that educators need to get away from STEM and move to STEAM, which would include art.

The concept is that the creative minds needed to be engineers or scientists are also fostered and developed through the arts, Agenbroad said. As they work to develop this idea, the board and community will dictate what would be most advantageous to students.

Joyce Clark Middle School promotion

Due to logistical challenges, Joyce Clark Middle School’s promotion ceremony has been retooled to forgo formality in favor of fun.

School Principal Melissa Sadorf formed a committee of parents, students, staff and teachers in March to develop a new set of traditions to celebrate graduation that would be every bit as memorable, but also would be feasible with about 400 students and a small budget. They came up with a week’s worth of events, including a school dance, an open house for parents, and a variety of other fun-focused activities.

Three members of the school student council described each of the events for the board. The changes passed in a 4-1 vote, with Board President Don Rothery weighing in against them, not based on their substance, but on the process used to initiate them.

Rothery agreed 100 percent with what they’re doing for the kids, but thought someone should have contacted the board earlier in the process, he said. “I support what you’re doing, I don’t support how it was done.”

Call to the Public:

• Dorothy Dietz addressed the board with concerns about a lack of applicants for the local Kiwanis Club’s annual scholarships and about the lack of a scholarship fair or “college day” at the high school this year.

Agenbroad and several board members assured her that her concerns were both justified in light of staff cuts to counseling positions and will be addressed, adding a guarantee that there will be a college day next year.

• Pueblo del Sol Elementary School Teacher Jennifer Caputo addressed the board with concerns regarding the addition of 30 minutes of instructional time to the elementary school day.

Board Clerk Connie Johnson later echoed concerns about teachers not having adequate time for even small breaks during the day.

• Town and Country Elementary School Parent Teacher Student Organization Vice President Michele Frias informed the board of a joint meeting all the elementary PTSOs held with Agenbroad and other administrative staff.

With a school closure off the immediate horizon, she hopes to work together to promote the district, facilitate positive change and rebuild trust in the community.

Also …

In other business the board unanimously OK’d:

• Changing the elementary school library position to a media literacy and technology integration specialist. This will enable the district to use grant funding and hire an additional person to do this job.

• Established two new positions to support teachers and students next year, to be entirely funded through grants. The positions are an elementary reading achievement coach and a high school technology integration special development specialist.

• An intergovernmental agreement with Cochise College for dual enrollment courses and another IGA with the college for the Tech Prep Program.

• The award of contracts to certificated employees, school nurses and therapists for next year.

• A five-year contract with Dollar Rent-a-Car for rental vehicles used for district travel.

• A contract with Lifetouch National School Studios for the senior and group photographer at graduation.

• The adoption of next year’s governing board meeting calendar.

• The revision of two course names at Joyce Clark Middle School.

And here are the comments from readers:

cchavez on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 17:18
Title: quality education

I just want to clarify some misinformation. First, teachers are NOT contracted to work 181 days. Our students attend 181 days, but the teachers are required to work a few days before students arrive and a day and a half after school gets out. Of course, I don’t know any elementary teachers who show up to work on our first contracted day. Many of us actually come back to the classroom at least a week earlier. We have not had any type of raise in the past 3 years, while we have been forced to either cut our health insurance benefits or pay extra to keep what we used to have. My own children don’t have health insurance because my husband and I both work for the district and we can’t afford to purchase insurance for them.

Furthermore, there is not a school in Sierra Vista that can outperform any of the SVPS schools. I just compared and double checked my facts on elementary schools in SV. According to the Arizona Department of Education website, the highest scoring charter schools, are outscored by the lowest scoring SVPS school. The lowest scoring charter school only had 50% of their 3rd-8th graders pass the reading portion, 60% pass the writing, and 63% pass the math portion of the AIMS tests. The average percentage of 3rd-8th graders passing the AIMS in the 3 largest charter schools in SV is 63% in reading, 65% in writing, and 72% in math. Compare that to the SVPS elementary schools with 77% in reading and writing and 80% passing in math. Check it out yourself at the Arizona Dept. of Ed. website.

Here are just a couple other ways that charter school education differs from and is often lacking in academic perfomance. Teachers in public schools must be certified and prove that we are highly qualified each year, while teachers in charter schools don’t even have to have a teaching degree. Charter schools are for-profit businesses, while public schools are non-profit. These schools get to chose how they spend their money while public schools don’t have that choice

Knight Rider on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 21:08
Title: Funny comparison...
Your comparison is like a runner in the Boston marathon celebrating for coming in second to last… Hey look, I wasn’t the worst!

Sumtingwong on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 19:26
Title: Wow
What a comparison. Compare it to other places other than SV. In other words, the charter. nor the public schools do worth a darn in SV.

WW2 Marine Veteran on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 11:22
Title: marciensv & SV Guy messages
marciensv & SV Guy: In addition to my comment about private & charter school, there is another altenative (although not an easy one). That is home schooling. There are some good lesson material on the market to help those who want to dedicate their time to home schooling. I have seem good positive results accomplished by those who want to educate their children away from the NEA which I believe has become a failure.

WW2 Marine Veteran on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 11:03
Title: SV Guy & marciensv messages
SV Guy & marciensv: You both try to make valid points. My problem with public education is their union (NEA) for public education. They have done too much for irreparable harm. I tried to get my children educated in Lutheran Schools whenever possible. We now have public education in Charter Schools without the NEA, paid for by tax payers but still with qualified teachers. I endorse that system.
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Knight Rider on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 19:04
Title: 675k
So I hope we won’t see them trying to push another override since they obviously have money stashed somewhere.

Sumtingwong on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 05:23
Title: OPM
They probably have another 100K stashed for expenses, to push for another override.

Phoebe on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 08:32
Title: A Noble Profession
A final thought…
As a teacher, it bothers me when people judge educators so harshly and belittle what we do with statements related to our salary, the fact that we have healthcare and a retirement plan, that we should be happy that we have a job at all, that what we do isn’t hard, that we get off earlier in the day than other professions, that we have summers. To those people, I say that in my experience I have noticed that no one truly appreciates what teachers do unless they are linked to education in some way as an educator, education employee, a family member of one of the previous two, or a dedicated volunteer and no one can empathize with the art of classroom management unless they have been a first year teacher. My salary of $27,000/year is a reflection of how the state legislators view education. I have healthcare, but my husband and I dread what our finances will become when we have to add children someday (if we can ever afford kids at all). If I am able to stay in this profession for thirty years, you bet I deserve a retirement. Teachers manage 25+ students, create lessons, grade papers, modify strategies based on student data, etc. When the student’s day ends, ours doesn’t. We have faculty meetings, IEP or 504 meetings, set up for the next day, and we HAVE to participate in extra-curricular activities, whether they are clubs, the arts, or athletics. Then, when we are finally done with all of that, then we have time to go to the bathroom. Summer? I’ll be spending mine making lesson plans for the year so that when I get home in the evenings I can spend time with my husband and not in front of the computer. In spite of all this, I truly love my job and the kids. They are the reason I am in this field. It is just too bad that the attitudes of some people demean what I do to make a difference in their lives.

FreeThinker on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 07:43
Title: An arrogant profession
As a tax payer, it bothers us when a teacher fails to properly educate students, blames their teaching negligence on a lack of funding, while looking down their nose at the very people that pay their salary.

The level of arrogance is unbelievably amazing! A teacher, complaining about their salary, doesn’t realize how their negligence of poorly educating students will produce a negative result on their future income.

Better educated students =’s better pay for teachers, it’s that simple. 50 years ago, students had a better education than they do today on a smaller budget so please, spare us the pathetic excuse, "We didn’t fail we are just not funded enough"

Knight Rider on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 21:20
Title: A few questions...
Can you tell us how you and other teachers you work with are evaluated? I ask because in order to get a raise, or keep my job for that matter, I undergo at least 4 formal evaluations of my performance every year. I find it fascinating that a teacher doesn’t have to be good at teaching to keep their jobs. If you have 30 kids and half fail do you get fired? Or are you merely evaluated with someone sitting through a few of your classes to essentially critique and evaluate your teaching style? As for all the other stuff, I really could care the less how much extra time teachers claim to put in. We all decide what we want to do with our lives and you chose to be a teacher so I assume you did some research and knew what you were getting into before you chose that path. There are some very good teachers and hey, you might be one of them, but there are also many bad teachers that just seem to hang around until they can retire.

on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 10:40
Title: Teacher Evaluation is a Complex Issue
You make an interesting point, regarding teacher evaluation. If you can come up with a truly equitable solution, you’ll be a very rich man. Different systems across the county have tried to varying levels of success, but measuring teacher success is mucy more difficult than simply looking at results on standardized tests. Like districts across the state, SVPS is reassesing our current teacher evaluation system, so that between 33 and 50% of the evaluation will be based directly on student acheivement. Principals and the superintendent will also be evaluated similarly. In theory, this is a great idea. Of course every teacher should contribute to the advancement of their students and, somehow, their performance appraisals should be tied to their ability to teach their students. And if it were that simple, it would have been done a long time. There are many problems with the practical implementation of this kind of evaluation; I’ll hit the highlights:

1) I can’t make my students succeed. I set high standards and give every student the opportunity to learn. I use many strategies to motivate them. Every year, the majority of my students learn a significant amount of Spanish and are ready to move on to Spanish Two, but some choose to fail. Students make choices that I can’t control: deciding to pay attention, to study, todo the work, etc.

2) Most subjects don’t have a standardized appraisal instrument. While imperfect, we could use AIMS scores to evaluate learning in reading, writing, math, and, I believe, science. For about 70% of the courses in Arizona, there is no standard appraisal. This is not insurmountable by any means, but certainly needs to be addressed.

3) Not every student has the same ability. Due to intelligence, motivation, level of support at home, including the value of education, socioeconomic status, language ability, prior learning (we get many students from schools around the country, as well as charter schools, who are unprepared for the rigor offered at Buena) etc., it is inequitable to assess the teacher on their ability to get every student to the same level.

So while I agree with your premise, and we are making strides to move in this direction, evaluating teachers on student ability is a very complex issue.

I do disagree with your assessment that there are "many" bad teachers. Hard numbers would require significant research, but anecdotally, having taught at BHS for over 10 years, I would estimate the number at far less than 10%. There certainly needs to be more done to improve struggling teachers and to remove those who don’t want to improve, but this doesn’t negate the excellence produced at Buena every year.

FreeThinker on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 17:55
Title: The hand you hold is the same hand that holds you down
Unfortunately, some people still refuse to see the light outside of the cave of government. “Good” teachers can earn a more than comfortable living wage if they were able to compete in a free market & not enslaved by unions & government regulations/legislation. Education is a product, not a right of the people to be provided by government, & if this product was sold, instead of taxed in a free market, good teachers would eliminate the bad teachers while producing very well educated students.
Teachers, do you really want a better salary? Then compete for it!
People, do you really want a better education for your children? Then shop for it!
To think, if government wasn’t standing in the way, both parties would benefit tremendously. However, both parties keep turning to government to solve their educational issues & that has always produce the same negative result, poorly compensated teachers & poorly educated students.
The teachers blame the tax payers for their poorly compensated income, the tax payer blames the teachers for their poorly educated children, & the government sits back, gets fat off of our money, laughs at both parties, while creating new legislation that just sustains the problem with no intention to solve.

Knight Rider on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 13:49
Title: Thanks...
I appreciate the serious response to my questions. It sounds as though even teachers realize that there is no good way to evaluate them, and I agree you can’t base things purely on student performance because we all know some students are not interested in learning. Hopefully a way to properly evaluate teachers will be developed. I would certainly be more comfortable supporting pay raises if I knew good teachers were going to benefit and the freeloaders were being fired.

Phoebe on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 08:02
Title: Living Wage
As a teacher in a surrounding district, my first reaction if I were an employee of SVPS would be concern about receiving a bonus when district schools are at risk for a shut down. As much as I would deeply appreciate the money, future school closures would mean a loss of a job, in which case $1,035 wouldn’t matter. But my real comment is to all of the people previously commenting about a teacher’s wage. First of all, contrary to a previous comment, there are not as many SVPS teachers that are retired military as you would think, so please erase the double salary from your mind. Also, to the person who keeps bashing what teachers make, because of insurance and healthcare increases my pay check has actually decreased in my years of teaching. Plus, because of pay freezes many teachers still make what a first year teacher does, $27,000 a year. This is my salary that I have had for the past three years. An additional tax, compounded by higher insurance and retirement means that I only my $680 a paycheck. This is not a living wage. I know teachers that are the only breadwinner in their family and I don’t know how they are able to provide for their children. It is, therefore, not surprising that their children receive free or reduced meals. I am so thankful that my husband has a job outside of K-12 education now. He lost his teaching job last year and there was no way we would be able to pay our bills and keep our house on just my salary (and please don’t argue that our 1100 sq. ft. house is to lavish for our income) if he hadn’t have found something within a few months. Thank you for reading my point of view.

FreeThinker on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 11:02
Title: Just be honest...Please!!!
So teaching is really about the money & not the love for teaching. It’s okay, you can say it, "I do this for the money & the expect a steady income for teaching" There’s nothing wrong with that statement especially if you worked very hard to acquire a degree in teaching. You are no different then any "greedy" corporation, you teach in order to create wealth for yourself.

Why is this so hard to admit too? Nobody does anything out of their benevolence, they do it out of their "Greed", self interest to acquire wealth. The problem is Phoebe, you thought a career in public education would always be there for you regardless of what level of educated students your public education system turns out but, unfortunately for you, your chickens have come home to roost. Your public education programs has dumb down the future leaders, innovators, & wealth creators to the point where there is no one that will strive to achieve because they were educated to beleive that "Greed" is immoral. Your public education system has created a society of mind less people that were taught/told to provide for their neighbor & to depend on government to provide for them while never addressing the issue of "Who will provide for government?" Or, "How can I provide for my neighbor when I can’t provide for myself?"

This is the end result of "The hand you hold is the same hand that holds you down" Welcome to the ugly side of Darwinism that everybody ignores & refuses to embrace, the "survival of the fittest, only the strong will survive"

You want a "living Wage?" Welcome to the jungle girl! You better learn to saddle up & ride with the cowboys cause government can’t rescue you no more. They have tossed you overboard to lighten up their load so higher level proletariat’s won’t have to make such sacrifices.

RHH on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 21:28
Title: Do teachers not deserve more
Do teachers not deserve more pay to better the education of the kids that will some day run this nation? Where is the motivation or incentive for teachers to stay strong in the field that their in? Yep, they get into the field knowing the pay but they end up having families who need food on the table and a roof over their heads. Non educators seem to think its so easy to take a classroom of 25 plus kids and give them the education they need and deserve. It’s funny that people can trash talk teachers, where did you get your education from? Where do you stand now, was it not because educators provided the knowledge you have today?

on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 11:33
Title: teachers and bonus
I see nothing wrong with this one time bonus. I do think there are some good teachers, but like any career/job there are also poor ones. Its a shame that there has to be this blanket coverage. But until teachers here get a better salary we are stuck with teachers that offer little quality. Do you realize teachers have to read and grade assignments, enter into grade books, plan for weekly lessons, mandatory schooling, and meeting with parents. A quality teacher is not able to complete all this by the end of the school day. But I also feel that with better pay comes increased hours/days. We have to keep up with other countries or get passed by.Unfortunately, here the teachers like children are low on the funding list. I asked someone recently with a masters if he would take a job that started at 34,000 a year. He was insulted. So why do people in the private sector feel they deserve $17 hr for AA, $23 for BA and $30 MA for entry level positions? Why do some people charge travel cost plus actual time for service calls? I don’t get paid to get to work. Why do some dealerships charge $75-$125 hr for just labor to fix a car. In some cases I’ve paid more for labor then the cost of the part. Do those mechanics have a BA or MA?

SV Guy
on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 08:35
Title: teachers and bonus
I absolutely disagree with your comment about teachers offering little quality. Do you visit the schools and the classrooms? I do and what I find is teachers going above and beyond in every way! We do have quality in our schools! I feel that you make blanket calls about schools all the time without actually rolling up your sleeves and finding out for yourself.

on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 06:21
Title: sorry to disagree
sorry SV Guy, I disagree with you. Just like any profession….NOT all teachers do a good job. Like I said there are good teachers and there are poor teachers. To say that EVERY teacher goes above what it expected is just not realistic. Again there are slackers in every job and profession. I think its time to opened your eyes.

on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 08:16
Title: define "quality", by what
define "quality", by what standard do you measure quality?

Quality is the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. So per this defintion- the quality of our schools is in the measurement of comparing us to other schools. Our school district consistently scores in the highest percentage of the state; we have all performing plus and above rated schools in our district which is rare for a district. In addition, PDS just won a Blue Ribbon award for the nation compared to all other schools both public, private, and charter. I do find it interesting that you ask that because in Sierra Vista many businesses are lacking in quality so when I have to compare- Sierra Vista Public Schools offers a quality that is lacking in many businesses in our town.

Sumtingwong on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 09:34
Title: A thank you to the school board
By giving out this bonus you have proven an override wasn’t needed, and won’t be needed next time you try and shove one down our throats. Giving away money is no problem for the board, as board president Don Rothery said, $675,000, is just a drop in the bucket. By giving this bonus you actually save us taxpayer’s money, as the next override sure won’t stand a chance of passing. The voters will remember how big of a bucket you have.

on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 19:15
Title: Comprehend Much?
I’ll put the two quotes together to see if they make more sense to you this way. “This is an attempt to recoup some of that for them. It’s not nearly enough, I’d like to see it be at least twice that much, but we don’t have it,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, that will answer the question whether we care about our teachers,” board president Don Rothery said. “We always have, we always will. I agree with what Hal said, it’s just a drop in the bucket.”

Just in case you need a little more explanation, it is a drop in the bucket compared to what they owe the teachers after 3 years of pay freezes. Nice way to try to twist what they said and their intended meaning.

pundit on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 06:31
Title: Most private sector worker
Most private sector worker have seen wages go down in the last 3 years and we feel Lucky to have a job at all, as should the teachers. Its’ outrageous that the board decided to give this bonus.

SV Guy
on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 08:39
Title: Most private sector worker
Oh please; I am so tired of this. Most private sector workers make a lot more than $28,000 a year so name me one. Even the cashiers at the grocery stores make $30,000 a year. Walk a mile in an educators shoes and then complain; I bet you won’t.

on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 05:27
Title: Sumtingwong
Teachers and staff are getting a windfall? Oil companies get windfalls because they are anything but underpaid. Only you would say that any money that goes to teachers and classified staff is a windfall. Do you mind explaining what it is you do that has made you so qualified to insult teachers in every way possible? Honestly, what kind of work do you do that makes you so unappreciative of teachers? What makes your contribution to society so superior? If you feel that paying taxes makes you unique you are in for a surprise, teachers also pay taxes and have children that attend public schools. Again, many teachers are military veterans or are married to soldiers, DA civilians or defense contractors.

on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 11:54
Title: you forgot to mention
If a teacher is retired military, they are collecting 2 checks. They have no reason to cry to the bank. How much is the monthly retirement check. And how much is the monthly teachers check. I don’t feel sorry for a 3 check family that can not make ends meet. There is a huge difference between a 1 check person trying to pay school loans. And if married to a solider, they can live in military housing, have no water bill, have no electric bill. And what do you think they pay for health insurance. Even if there is a layoff they will have a roof over their head. This is not the case for a 1 check civilian.

on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:50
Title: Vote No and Sumtingwong
I explained this before. Teachers didn’t demand a 181-day contract; that is all the number of contracted days this and most other states will fund. Are you willing to pay more taxes to pay the teachers to teach more days? You must think teachers are supposed to work two more months for free and pay out of pocket to attend college classes so that they can stay certified. Our society was once mostly agrarian and kids were out of school during the summer so they could help their families with the farm work. This tradition is part of our culture and, along with our unwillingness to pay more in taxes, is the reason why teachers are only funded to teach for 181 days. By the way, 80 to 85% of school budgets are used to pay salaries and benefits. How do you give children a good education without being willing to pay for good teachers?

JPD on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:42
Title: Clarification
When government workers say they haven’t had an increase, they usually mean they got their cost of living increase, but nothing more. I don’t consider that "frozen," since many people in private industry get only very small increases (and no cost of living). Did the teachers get cost of living increases or not in the past 3 years? Just wondering.

on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 07:54
Title: No, JPD
They did not get a cost of living increase. If they had been attending school towards a masters, they did not get that step up. They have received nothing of an increase for any reason in 3 years. But their share of health insurance did go up. So their net has seen a nice drop.

Sumtingwong on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:45
Title: ALL??????
The bonus is for all of the returning employees. Staff? Sounds like more than just the teachers are getting this windfall.

VOTE NO on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 06:12
Title: And
And the school district just keeps on WASTING our tax dollars. Just remember to VOTE NO when they ask for ANOTHER override. Get a clue, put the money towards educating the children.

on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 10:45
Title: Money Well Spent!
Please elaborate on your view that the district is "WASTING our tax dollars," as well as how you believe money is not currently being very well spent "towards educating the children."

SVPS was extremely conservative this year, so we had enough left over to pay our excellent teaching and support staff a small amount of the money that has been cut from their salaries the last few years and which will continue to be cut next year. To elaborate, salaries for every school employee have been frozen for the third year in a row, so my base salary for next year is approximately $4000 less than what district policy mandates for my experience and education. Additionally, the state has mandated that instead employees paying 50% and the employer paying 50% of our retirement benefit, employees will now pay 53%. Teachers have agreed to greatly increased class sizes, which saves the district hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are just a few examples of the sacrifices we have made to maintain a healthy budget in these times of drastic state cuts — so that your taxes will remain low.

Teacher retention is extremely important to maintaining a quality education for our children, and money is one key factor to maintaining the excellent teachers and support staff employed by SVPS.

Proud US Citizen on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 09:17
You do know what the real "waste" of our tax dollars is in school districts not only here, but across the U.S….

The fact that taxpayers have to educate illegal aliens, who shouldn’t even be here in the first place!

Holland for years used to "educate everyone", but then they finally realized enough is enough, and stopped it!

The U.S. I believe is the only country on the face of the earth that gives an education to ALL, whether they are entitled to it or not.

So you should "get a clue", and petition your reps to get the Supreme Court (whose decision it was many years ago to educate those illegally here) to revisit that decision.

VOTE NO on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:54
Title: Obviously
Obviously Proud US Citizen is a school teacher. I do not want to hear how very hard teachers have it. Give me a break. I wish I only had to work 180 days a year. I am not as clueless as you think. Maybe the clueless one is you Proud.

on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 14:54
Title: Pointing fingers
I wouldn’t be too quick to point fingers at someone as clueless when you don’t know that the number of instructional days in the district is 181 and teachers work more than that. Also, the average person with 2 weeks vacation works 240 days. Many positions have 3 weeks, so 235 days. An article released in Feb states that the "salaries averaging $50,034 per year" is what is expected for recent 4 year degree grads. On the other hand, you have SV teachers starting at $28,272.70. So you think that a 45-50 day difference warrants a pay $21,762 below the average compared to other 4 year grads? That much might make sense if teachers were making $70 an hour. Straight up per hours worked, if $50K is $25/hr (w/ vacation included) then that equivalent would have teachers starting around $37K. Not to hard to look at the numbers and take an objective view of the situation. Oh, and if the teacher was really lucky and started the year the freezes hit, 4 years into it and they could still be making their same low starting salary.

on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 07:58
Title: Crazy??
Please tell me how giving a teacher a bonus is wrong, when they haven’t been given a pay increase in three years all while inflation and benifits have gone up???? The education of a certified teacher, educated to the federal standard cost that person well in the 70-80 thousand dollar range….Anyone who thinks teachers do it for the money are a joke. Heaven forbid they get a bonus after being neglicted for three years going on four years. Must be nice to sit back and get your raise every year, while others struggle to get by….

Proud US Citizen on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 05:44
Title: 1 time bonus
To those here who feel that the educators of our children are overpaid, I would suggest you speak with a teacher.

Unlike most jobs, where one has set hours of employment, teachers do not fall into that category.

Even though their salaries are based on the actual school day, I don’t know of one teacher who only "works" during that time.

Most teachers come in early, stay after the students have left, and most "work" nights and weekends for the benefit of their students.

I for one am glad to see that the Sierra Vista Unified School District has found this means, although not as much as it should be, but at least something to recognize what these teachers do to educate our children.

Sumtingwong on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 09:19
Title: Right, Unlike most jobs
Most jobs require a person to work 250 days a year, whereas teachers work about 180.

on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:16
Title: And...
Those same teachers are only contracted to be paid for 180 days- thus they may chose to stretch that pay over the summer, but it’s still only a paycheck equal to 9 months of the year. I had to get a summer job to support myself when I worked as a school nurse; not just due to the paycut, but also because of the 9 month contracts.

Proud US Citizen on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 11:03
Title: Another clueless
Your comment tells all that you don’t know any teachers. Sheesh….

on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 09:44
Title: Ya don't get it....
What’s your point? I don’t think there is a teacher out there that became a teacher to get rich. I do think though between the education they must have and the work they perform they should be entitled to a 3.5 percent raise every year. How can you expect someone to live on an entry level teacher’s salary when the cost of EVERYTHING keeps going up? Three years not an extra penny, yet they pay more into benefits now. Give them a break, we’re not talking about welfare here, we’re talking about fairly compensating someone for doing their job.


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