Saturday, September 15, 2012

Teachers Declare They Deserve a 3.1% Wage Increase

Listen...we value teachers.  Really, we do.
But it borders on unmitigated gall for them to rally at the meeting at which the school board's Finance Committee was slated to approve the district's proposed budget for 2012-13 and forward it to the full board for final approval and adoption.

Where have you been?
Caren Diedrich actually got it right when she chastised the large group of teachers in the audience.   She asked, accusingly, "Where the hell were you 4...5....6 months ago?  We needed to hear from you long before our backs were up against the wall.  You cannot wait till the 11th hour."
Can you blames them for not coming off the lake to attend a public hearing?
Diedrich's point is well taken; where WERE these folks at the public hearings on the budget?  Oh...wait...those were during the summer.  Our bad...teachers are off all summer.

Forgive us if we offend...but frankly the whole attitude on display was offensive.
At best, seniors will likely get a 1.5% increase in Social Security

What make you more deserving than anyone else?
Do any of these teacher have parents living on social security?  We guess not.  Do you care about those folks?  The current projections for a COLA (Cost of living adjustment) for seniors on social security is a whopping 1.5% increase.  And that's on an income of less than $20K.  Gee...your 2% doesn't look so bad now does it?

State employees, who have had NO raises since 2008, will get NO RAISES for 2013.  Or likely in 2014 either.  Municipal employees are finding similar territory.  What about private sector workers who haven't even made up ground lost since 2008?

Again, forgive us, but this sense of entitlement is really getting old.  In our humble opinion, you are actually turning more people off than developing a rally around yourselves.

Can we stop with the sob stories?
"I'm not getting paid what my friends get paid, yet I'm more educated and work more hours..."
"I took a pay cut to come to Sun Prairie and it's taken me 10 years to get back.."
"[A 3.1% raise] would make us feel valued..."
"With a 2% increase and insurance changes I will earn less"
"I can't afford to take too many more hits [on my paycheck] before I need to choose something else"

Even curriculum leadership was tossed under the bus vs. coaching!
"We [coach] 4-5 hours per day for 5-6 days each week for a small stipend.  Not trying to bash the CLC stipends, but they don't put in the time that [coaches] do." you people realize that people are losing their homes!  We watched as an in-home daycare provider --who may have cared for some of your kids-- lost their home to foreclosure.
You seem to forget that you pay less for your insurance benefits --and get better benefits--than state workers do.   The E/R co-pay for state workers has long been $75....which is STILL more than you pay with an increase.  Maybe save the E/R  You folks get dental insurance--at very low expense, while most of the rest of us have to pay those costs out of pocket.  Are you even aware--do you even care--that state workers have to pay $600/year to get $500-$1000 worth of dental coverage?

The sob stories aren't working.  Many people that did NOT flood the meeting are worse off than you.  Seriously, there's a part of us that wants to say, "If you're not happy, then you know where the door is and watch that it doesn't smack your backside on the way out."  But we shouldn't say we won't.  Because if you're not happy, you're probably less effective in your job anyway.  And this district is not going to be held hostage to making you happy.

It's not just 3.1% either; raises could be as high as 8.1%!
But they won't tell you that, will they?  This is the classic magician's game.  Focus on the raise and maybe people will forget about "the other stuff" they get.  Most of the public do not know that the current teachers contract calls for an automatic 2% "step increase" each year they teach.  Now, some teachers have taught so long that they "fall off the grid" and are therefore no longer eligible for the 2% increase

Then there are the "lane" increases.  Gain 6 credits (2 college courses) and you get a 3% increase!  So a younger teacher who was here last year, gets a 2% pay bump automatically.  If they've completed 6 credits, they get another 3% bump.  And now...2% MORE isn't good enough?  You could see a 7% increase yet you want to demand 8.1%? It's called reality and you need to come to grips with it.

And then there are a ton of other opportunities for additional "stipends" on top of salaries.  It has been estimated that as much as $1.8M per year is divvied out to staff for these other opportunities.   If one adds up budget lines 105,106,107, and 110 (Extracurricular, Summer school, Leadership Council and "Other" Salaries) the total for 2012-13 is $1.9M.   That would translate to over $3,000 for every single SPEA member.

And you're not earning enough?
As we said...we value what you do, but you try our patience.  For a group that keeps saying that you don't do it for the money, it seems to be all about the benjamins.