Teacher salary war has devolved to 'cannibalism,' superintendent says

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  • bertrom Provo, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 2:38 p.m.

    One problem is that "Dr" Rogers assumes that money is the only reason teachers leave Tooele County School District. I'm one of those teachers that left his district mid-year last year. Better pay certainly was important, but the morale in that district is appalling, and much of it relates to the shady and unethical practices perpetuated by district officials. It was not uncommon for the district to attempt to change policies without following proper procedures to do so. They also would lie blatantly if their actions were ever called into question.
    One of those lies is the contract that Rogers talks about. In 10 years I never signed a contract. The only documentation that I ever signed were my W-4 forms and insurance forms.
    This is just one example. But the sad thing is that almost every district suffers from this type of leadership. I just figured if I were to remain in this profession I would rather be paid better to deal with the same old crap. Public education has many problems. Low morale and sub-standard pay are only two of them. The biggest issue is that no one is ever really trained how to be a leader in public education.

  • Husker2 Odessa, TX
    Sept. 21, 2017 12:43 p.m.

    Impartial "What?? Utah GOP leaders advocating Socialism? This is the Republicans dream-the ultimate free market."

    This is not a free market situation. The end product is human beings and the goal is for all of them to have an equally quality education. Jordan District cannot take over Tooele Districts market share or buy them out.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:59 a.m.

    It seems most who have commented didn't read the article or fail to understand the Superintendents point. Let's draw a comparison. Tooele School District is much like the Utah Jazz of the NBA. They are a small market team with limited resources. Granite School District is much like the Boston Celtics of the NBA, a large market team with extensive resources. The NBA even understands that for small market teams to survive there must be some equalization of revenue, hence the luxury tax and the sharing of other revenues that disproportionately favor smaller market teams etc. This revenue sharing allows small market teams with limited resources to pay as much for their players as big market teams with more resources. The free agent still may leave Utah/Tooele for Boston/Granite, but in the NBA it won't be because of salary.

    Howard Stephenson seldom gets it right, but in this case he did. The playing field is uneven, the state supports all schools the same way but the money generated locally is not at all the same. Equalization is long overdue if we care about all students in the state of Utah, not just those in wealthy districts.

  • QualifiedbutnothiedbyTCSD Tooele, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 7:03 p.m.

    I tried a total of 11 times to get any job at TCSD for 6 years. With an MEd and ten plus years teaching experience. Many employees in this district get hired and then get their family members hired. In applying for jobs I had to compete with these family members and lost to uneducated but related "candidates"
    I have no sympathy for this district and consider it laughable that they spent thousands of dollars for recruiting trips that were fruitless. I am aware that many district employees are not even close to being qualified. If you do not like the hiring situation then change the HR person. The kids suffer the most and I am wondering why the USOE is not more closely examining the nepotism atTCSD. Several of my teacher friends tried to get hired and did not. They also had MEd's or higher and were told male staff members did not want to work with a woman with more education than them. For the record many teachers whine and get donations and discounts because they work at a title one school but the free goods and deeply discounted items never get to the kids in this district. Shame on you TCSD. At least the kids are learning despite entitled adults.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 6:55 p.m.

    What about the students. Don't students in Tooele deserve a quality education? I suppose students can just decide on their own to move to another part of the state like Park City in order to obtain a better education. Education is road out of poverty. The money should be going to the poorest districts in the state not the wealthy ones. State employees are paid the same whether they work in Logan or Saint George. Why not teachers? Why do we need school districts anyway.

  • CJHR Springville, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 6:41 p.m.

    The misinformation in the comments above is laughably ignorant. LDS liberal and IQ 92 are spreading absolutely false information. 1. A master's degree is not required to be a teacher, a bachelor's degree is. 2. Teachers get salary increases far beyond 5-7 years of experience. Look up a teacher salary schedule at any school district. I can't understand why one would comment on an education article without any grasp of the facts.
    Here it is folks...paying teachers more will not fix the problems in education immediately, but in the long term, if significant, it could. Real talent follows money. If you want great teachers, you have to pay them enough to get the attention of people who are entering the career preparation phase of life. Steal them from choosing engineering, programming, law, or medicine. That only takes place if they will be compensated. Either pay for talent or don't complain about the lack of it. Simple solution to a problem we've made complex.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 8:39 a.m.

    Its a 'right to work state'. If teachers want to quit and work somewhere else then that is their prerogative.

    That Howard Stevenson quote is hilarious in its tone deafness.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 2:39 a.m.

    The free market forces are finally working to benefit teachers. It's about time.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 20, 2017 12:17 a.m.

    My favorite high school teacher left his $42k a year job to become a business consultant because he couldn't support his family on that. He tells me he now makes more than $200k a year.

    Utah schools lost a superb talent who could have changed the lives of thousands of kids. But that's OK with the Republicans who run this state. They talk all the time about how much they value the children of Utah, but as a wise man once said, "If you want to see where people's values are, watch how they spend their money."

  • HB Ogden, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 12:05 a.m.

    I agree that teacher certification needs to be quicker and easier to renew. I have a teaching certificate in New Jersey that does not expire. That's the way it should be in Utah. If you passed all the requirements at one point, why lose your certification just because you take a few years off to raise your kids? On-the-job teacher training is the best source of training for a teacher anyway. I am ready to go back to teaching, but must jump through hoops to renew my certification.

  • Susan Storm Sandy, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 11:49 p.m.

    There should be some tax equalizers so that poorer districts can compete better. It doesn't have to be completely equal but it's not fair to think that Dagget county is going to compete with Salt Lake or Park City and their ample tax base with teacher salaries.

  • TeachyMcTeacherPants Sandy, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 11:46 p.m.

    This is basic economics: They don't pay well. People don't want to work there.

    The solution is: Competitive salaries

    Keeping teaching salaries competitive is important. Teachers are getting poached by the private sector as well. If we want to continue to be a first world country, we need to prioritize our schools and retaining teaching talent.

  • Fair Flower Layton, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 11:40 p.m.

    I was thinking about going back to teaching, at least part-time, because I missed it, but when I saw what I had to do to get recertified, I decided it wasn't worth it. I'm somewhat valuable, too, as I have math endorsements. Sorry STEM.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 9:33 p.m.

    Interesting that Howard Stephenson who has actively opposed any reasonable support for education would say: """This just screams for correction," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper."

    What really screams for correction is having Stephenson in the Utah Legislature. For those who are his constituents, please help by getting him our of the Senate at the next election where that is possible.

  • Lifelong Learner Orem, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 9:20 p.m.

    I totally agree with "Impartial 7". Cut the administrative and facility costs and suddenly there'd be a LOT more money to help pay for decent teachers.

  • Speaking Out Loud Tooele, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 8:44 p.m.

    It appears that those making comments are not understanding the real issue here....Tooele County has a lower tax base than any of the districts "stealing" Tooele teachers. Tooele has one of the highest tax rates in the State and they still cannot generate enough revenue to compete with the Salt Lake district's pay scale.

    The proposed solution is property tax equalization. Plain and simple the students in Tooele are just as valued as students in Canyons or Jordan District.

    The issue is not about the pay rate for the superintendents in the Salt Lake Valley (Note that the salary for the superintendent in Tooele is 60% of his peers) or class size in Jordan (by the way Tooele's class size is the same and Tooele teachers also teach on prep periods).

    Tooele citizens already pay a higher percent of their property value than any of the Salt Lake Districts, at some point we need to realize that we must value all of our students equally.

    Utah is one of only six states without some sort of property tax equalization. Many of the others only changed due to court action. These senators have it right, the legislature must take action or face legal action from the small districts.

  • Pingdizzle South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 7:45 p.m.

    I teach in the Jordan District and have 40+ kids in my classes. On A days, I teach another class instead of getting a prep because of the numbers of students. So is it "fair" that I make a little bit more than the Tooele county teachers that don't have my work load? I've taught for 13 years now and have moved up the scale all the way to 47k a year.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 7:13 p.m.

    He is crying foul that neighboring districts are 'cannibalizing' because they are starting teacher's pay at $40K...for a some one with a freak'in MASTER's Degree!

    As a husband and father of teachers in this state --
    I'm crying too, but for an entirely different reasons!

    Look you all made the requirement that teacher hold Master's degrees,
    Now you are crying that they won't accept that sort of crappy pay.

    H-E-L-L-O....paying someone $40k while demanding they hold a
    Master's degree is less than peanuts, it's an out rage and crying shame!

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 5:41 p.m.

    Real and actual school district budgets, expenditures, collections, revenues, salaries, costs, building, utilities, food, everything, should be made public record. No behind closed door dealings of any kind. Then and only then can we begin to trust school districts with their constant cry for more and more tax dollars. Let us see how they have done, how they are doing now, and how they plan to do. Public audits who represent the people. As long as they hide, shield, distort, misinform, deny and misuse public funds, we will not trust them.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 5:31 p.m.

    Headline should read, "New(er) Teacher Salary Wars..." Utah districts do not pay for experience beyond 5-7 years experience.

  • Principles66 Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 5:15 p.m.

    The easiest action that would improve teacher vacancies would be to make it easier for previous teachers to re certify and for current teachers to keep their certification active. So many great teachers choose to take a break from teaching for a variety of reasons. Many would like to return to teaching but do not want to, or do not have the time available to jump through the hoops to re certify. Do we really think they have fallen that far behind on their base skills to teach? I would submit that most would be amazing with very little training to re certify. If the state made certifications last twice as long and reduced the requirements to re certify by half, I believe our teacher shortage would disappear.

  • Procoug Layton, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 4:58 p.m.

    I would be more than happy to quit my corporate job which requires travel and come teach in the Tooele School District. pay me what I am worth which currently is in excess of 190K. In fact... Give me 120K and you have yourself a deal!
    I don’t think administrators get paid too much, the issue is that teachers get paid too little and don’t receive the respect from Parents, students and state government officials.
    It is time for we the people, we the tax payer, to pony up and pay our teachers a living wage.

  • new perspective South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 4:26 p.m.

    Does the cannibalism continue onto a much larger scale?

    The question is if a 4%, 10.8%, 18.25% annual increase in teacher compensation will ever be enough? As many of you can probably relate, I have NEVER had 3 million people "supposedly" lobbying for my annual salary increase, nor do I expect them to. Rather then seeing the lofty increases, I personally would like to see the correlation between teacher increases & actual increases in the education our kids are receiving?

    We need to ask ourselves what our return on our investment is? Kids and education are worth investing in but are we truly investing in a better education or simply a fatter teacher pocket? To my knowledge, there hasn't been a 4% to 18.25% improvement in scores. The bottom line is if teachers are worth it, they shouldn't be afraid to be put to the test & validate their efforts through measurable results. Will we ever stop lobbying for them & let them earn their own grade? An incredible teacher can be priceless, many are worth a lot but let's not give them all a passing grade. Let's approach things differently & actually get what we think we are paying for.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 4:11 p.m.

    One thing that might help is to allow teachers to change districts within the state without losing their years of service. If the Legislature really wants to do something about the problem, they should quit voting this bill down at every session.

  • Ronnie W. Layton, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 3:52 p.m.

    "This just screams for correction"

    No! Let the market work. The demand is there, let them get the raises they deserve. If you don't want to pay them, be prepared to suffer the consequences.

    The idea of a salary cap, or limiting teachers options to protect your own district is very self serving.

  • Curelom Roy, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 3:20 p.m.

    It's called the free market. You want the better teachers, be willing to pay for them. If the tax payers don't want to pay for better teachers, then they don't get them.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 3:09 p.m.

    There is so much that is misunderstood regarding education in America. We all should be concerned about it and we all should pay up to fund it. John Adams said, in the late 1700s:

    "The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves."

    If we value education and prosperity then we need to support a publicly funded education system and we need to work to create a system that works. But even more than that we need parents who support the schools and who work with their children at home. One of my greatest responsibilities is to make sure that my children are capable of their futures, education is key to that.

    @Impartial - we need to review pay rates, the Gov deserves much more than that amount...he's the CEO of a company with ~3M constituents!

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    How about we reduce school superintendents salaries and shift those to teachers? The average school superintendent makes $225,000/yr. Gary Herbert makes $109,000. Let's trim some fat in admin and pay teachers more.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 2:24 p.m.

    What's wrong with this picture? A superintendent negotiating with the state legislature. No wonder the system doesn't work.

    Education in general has this socialism bent that is hard to get past. Management is a tough business. Starbucks, McDonald's, Smith's or Adobe all deal with salary issues every day.

    Collective bargaining in the public sector doesn't work because the owners (voters) aren't even invited to the table. But the Utah legislature model is even more ridiculous.

    The answer is vouchers big enough to pay for private school tuition. Then you'll hear the money talk.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 19, 2017 2:13 p.m.

    ""This just screams for correction," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.
    His sentiments were echoed by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City.
    "We have to equalize this. There is no other reasonable or appropriate solution," Thatcher said."

    What?? Utah GOP leaders advocating Socialism? This is the Republicans dream-the ultimate free market. Now, they want government to regulate how individuals get paid? Sounds hypocritical.