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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Show Me The Money!

"Moody said she worries the district has grown less competitive in attracting teachers since neighboring districts haven't decreased their salary scales as severely as Rock Hill."  A comment from The Rock Hill Herald

Below are comments posted to The Herald online:
This is how government works and thinks: "we have a huge debt, our citizens are tired of hearing how government needs more taxes, we somehow have gotten a little extra money - SPEND IT QUICK! Oh, we are broke, we need more money, we need more taxes! We have a huge debt, I wonder why???".
I think they need to hire more teachers to teach us that fuzzy math that they use in budgets.

After seeing the effects and benefits of smaller class sizes (my child is in a pilot 4K program at an elementary school that I pay for), I think the money would be better used to reduce class sizes and hire more teachers.  Although it wouldn't mean a pay increase for staff, they would certainly benefit from having less students to educate.
I have a kid in school, and two on the way in a few years! Almost everyday he brings a paper home from school and they are wanting money for something! He made a picture in art class last year and they wanted us to pay $6 for it! I got the $6, but some may not! My mom and dad never had to pay for my art work!! Then they find 4 million dollars laying around! Who is in charge of this money? They need to be fired!!!
Who does these folks budget? Several months ago Lynn Moody was going to layoff more teachers and cut staff. then Bob Norwood said they "found" a few million dollars. Now there is a surplus? God save the children!
My daughter, a teacher, recently earned her Masters and is anything but stupid! Many days she is at school around 12 hours a day, and goes in on the weekends.  She also uses her own money to buy items for her students. I am sure the same can be said of many dedicated teachers. If you have a child having problems in school, maybe you should look closely at yourself!

The Dr. Moody  comment appeared in the newspaper  concerning giving step increases to teachers at the September meeting. The discussion at the work session was about administrators and support staff. The comments after the comment (found at The Herald online)  demonstrate we need to do a better job communicating.

For a refresher, this is what was presented:

Option One: Recommended by Administration
A. 1.5% Increase to all support and Administrative Personnel Below the Highest Pay Band
B. $500 Bonus to all Teachers and Employees not Eligible for the increase (at highest pay band or step)

Advantages; Equitable to Teacher Increases; Compensates all Employees in some way; greater overall benefit to employees; more competitive with neighboring districts; fosters retention of employees.

Option Two:
A. $500 Bonus to all Support and Administrative Staff
B. $500 Bonus for all Teachers Not Eligible for Step Increase.

Advantages; compensates all employees in some way; no obligation to sustain in future years.

I don't support either option. I'll try to explain why below:
  • We have never done this before. In a normal year, teachers would get a step increase, based on state guidelines, for years of service. If there was a cost of living increase funded by the state, it would apply to all employees, including teachers who received the step increase. I should point out, all teachers do not get step increases in a normal year.
  • The salary increase for administrators is not funded by the state and will put a burden on the district in next year's budgeting process
  • We have not lost one administrator to a surrounding district because of pay. We have lost teachers because of pay
  • Our administrator pay scale range is currently 4.5% higher than the average of the other three York County School Districts (York, Clover, Fort Mill).
  • Our teacher salary scale is currently $700 a year, or 1.4% lower than the average of the other three York County School Districts. The top teacher salary in Rock Hill is around $2,000 a year less or 3%.
Everybody says  the most critical position is the teacher. If that is so, we should take care of those needs first. When the board voted to eliminate the step increase for 3 years (we've since added one back), the consequence was the first year teacher's salary was reduced by about 5% (2 steps). What kind of an impact will that have on recruiting the best teachers?

What I support is taking the surplus money from last year and give to all employees as a one time bonus. This doesn't put a burden on next years budget and recognizes all employees equally for their contribution to keeping out schools moving forward during these tough economic times. It is also consistent to what we've done in the past and continues to keep a focus on the teachers.

Whatever we do will come under attack. There are still a lot of people unemployed and/or on furlough.


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