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Board VP questions raises for teachers on 'improvement plans'

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook School Board vice president Larry Shields voted "No" on a negotiated package and pay raise for teachers and also on the 2011-12 compensation package for administrators.

Shields said it isn't the 3.17 percent increase that bothers him so much as offering the same pay raise to teachers for whom administrators have written "improvement plans."

"These nine teachers are on improvement plans and they're still getting raises," Shields said. What incentive do these teachers have to improve their teaching abilities if they get a raise anyway -- and the same raise as everyone else, he asked.

Shields said he would like to see teachers' raises based on performance, not upon a negotiated agreement that blankets everyone with the same provisions. He's disappointed, he said, that the board can't recognize those teachers who go above and beyond to help their students achieve with raises that recognize and reward their effort.

Norgaard told Shields that schools have no legal authority and power to base pay increases upon performance. Bredvick added, "I'd love to give raises to good teachers who deserve it, who have earned it. But we have no authority to do that."

Norgaard said that teachers who have improvement plans are "not all on the edge of being dismissed," he said, adding that he's happy that the district takes teacher instruction seriously and addresses issues as they come up.

Shields also said he hopes that the number of teachers with improvement plans decreases as teachers attend the in-service training sessions that the board approved for 2011-12. He said teacher in-services take classroom days away from students, and students who are not sitting in class are not learning.

Norgaard said that he, too, wants more time for students in the classroom, but he assured Shields that there is "no damage done to students" with the early-out schedule for teacher training. Over the course of the year, he said, student achievement improves when teachers improve.

The negotiated agreement for 2011-12:

* Increases teacher base pay $650 a year, from $30,570 to $31,220;

* Increases extra duty pay for ninth grade head coaches from 7 percent to 7-9 percent (based upon experience) and for ninth grade assistant coaches from 6 percent to 6-8 percent;

* Creates extra-duty positions for robotics and Destination Imagination and sets compensation at 2.5 percent.

Shields -- who by his votes in the past appears to be the board's budget watchdog and generally votes against pay raises in tough economic times -- also voted against a 2.69 percent increase in the compensation package for administrators. The increase adds about $21,000 to the overall budget.

Norgaard said the increase is at or below the cost of living.

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Good for you Mr. Shields. Appreciate you sharing your opinion on the wages and especially the in-service and students not learning. Seems like a lot of meetings and kids out early. Thought school was for teaching kids, not teaching teachers how to be teachers.

-- Posted by mrbj on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 10:19 PM

Are ya kidding mrbj? How do you think the teachers get better at teaching the kids? If you don't use skills you lose them. Education is an ever-changing/growing organism of which the teachers must stay abreast. I want my children to be taught by the best. I expect the teachers of my children to continue to attend CEU courses to learn as much as humanly possible so that they don't get stuck in their "rut" of "how they do things".

MOREOVER!!! Why in the dickens are we denying our teachers $650 a year? Are you kidding me? We can sure decrease the gap between the administrators who are making $100,000 more than that, but the teachers? Come on folks! Remember this, I've said it in two other posts: 2% on $130,000 is a lot different than 2% on $30,000. The gap between teacher and administrator pay keeps widening and the job description does not seem to be requiring that change. We the taxpayer can't afford all of these chefs spoiling the soup, its not the teachers that are the problem. Especially some of the chefs here in McCook.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 7:33 AM

Good job Mr. Shields! I think anyone who is up for a raise should be given one on merit. Not just because the government says they have to have one. Teachers who aren't doing their job, should not be given as much. Maybe if our students would come out of highschool knowing how to punctuate, speak and read properly, our teachers would deserve a higher raise. Our teachers don't get better by giving them raises...that's what is wrong with today's society. It should be a matter of morals and them wanting to teach our students instead of just making sure they have a paycheck and turn their cheek in their classrooms. I've seen it way too many times. Teachers will put out a lesson and then let the kids do what they want. They don't care about the kids who are struggling, just as long as they put in their time to get their benefits!

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 8:11 AM

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