Letter: Teachers deserve raises, too

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The Douglas County School District Board of Education recently approved a 10 percent retention bonus for cabinet members Bonnie Betz, Gautam Sethi, Steven Cook and Ted Knight. These four members also received a 20 percent retention bonus last year. Douglas County tax payers have funded over $200,000 in retention bonuses for these four employees in the past two years. While they got bonuses, some teachers did not get a raise because they are at the top of their pay band and were rated "effective."

I did not receive a raise this year because I was marked "effective" and I am at the top of my pay band. Year by year, my ongoing base compensation falls further behind those of my colleagues in comparable districts with my education and experience. Requiring a "Highly Effective" rating on an evaluation tool that even the board agrees is flawed is the only way that my base salary can increase. Teachers who scored "Partially Effective" and were not at the top of their pay band received raises last year, yet some that were scored higher did not. I am not the only teacher in this position. Quality teachers are leaving the district due to ridiculous acts of disrespect and inequity when it comes to raises.

More money and retention efforts are given to those who never work with our students than the teachers that are with them. New board member Steve Peck said, "people at the top of any organization do deserve higher pay than the people that are entry level... I don't have any heartburn at all with paying our top administrators top pay." 

As a highly educated, veteran teacher, I am far from entry level. Rather, I am an expert in my field. It is insulting to be thought of and labeled as anything less.

Neal A. Clark

Highlands Ranch

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Caring Resident

The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 30, 2017) featured improvements made in Wisconsin due to Act 10, which allowed districts to reward teachers of excellence with higher salaries. Student learning increased as well as the wages of effective teachers. Likely, districts in Wisconsin have figured out how to accurately evaluate their teachers to make this work. I'm not an expert, but contacting these districts to see how they evaluate teachers and reviewing their evaluation tools for possible implementation in our own district may be a great start to addressing the inequality issues that you raise. Our teachers are important to our community. Thank you for your service!

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