Committee Didn't Have Much Choice In Its 'Recommendation'


by Val Dickey
This is written in response to the article in the Roundup on April 7 entitled: "Committee says teacher raises should stay same."

I am a member of the Superintendent's Advisory Council, and I would like to suggest to you that you investigate how recommendations are reached in this particular committee.

We are elected by our peers to serve for a term of two years. We are then given several district "problems" to solve within a year's service.

These include (deciding on) insurance programs, writing job descriptions and, last but not least, teacher and staff salary schedules. This is an awesome task.

We are usually given a large printout of the available new money. Next to that we have a spreadsheet of where we need to allocate that new money.

We are also presented with the wish list of every principal in the district for new staffing. This is usually an amazing list, asking for everything that they think will help the district run more efficiently.

We go through the long list and delete requests that we know are not feasible, then send it back to the principals for them to further pare down the list.

After all of that, we are left with an amount that we are able to put into salaries. Our business manager leads the way for us here.

This year, we were told that there is enough money to fund everyone's step and educational move on the present salary schedule. Any further discussion seemed a moot point. Hence, the "recommendation to leave the salary schedule as it is this year."

There was no discussion of raising the base because it seemed pointless. Please understand that we are not privy to the entire budget. We might be if we had the time.

We are all hard-working, underpaid teachers and staff members who are trying to wind up the year with a board meeting deadline to meet.

We were told in the last SAC meeting that next year we will start earlier -- September-- and may become more aggressive in finding money by actually looking at the entire budget. I hope that is what really happens.

Finally, I (have) some questions for the community to wonder about:

How is it that the Payson School District is in the (state's) top 30 percent for administrator (salaries) and in the lower 10 percent as far as teacher salaries are concerned?

How is it we cannot fund raises for our teachers that keep up with the cost of living, (but) ... we continue to travel all over northern Arizona to compete in sports?

How is it that a school district of only five schools has upper-management salaried at more than some larger school districts in the state?

Do we want programs for the children? Yes. Do we need teachers in the classroom to carry out the programs? Yes.

Then we need to help teachers and find the money to increase salaries.

You may say that we all need to write our legislators. Yes, this is true, but I submit to you that we need to become better stewards of the money that (we have) and make the hard decisions that need to be made.

Empower us to really analyze the budget, not just listen to one "expert" and come up with some creative financing.

Give us time. Credit us with having some brains and let us make recommendations that the board can really sink its teeth into.

As someone sitting in the Roundup's lobby area said as I bought the paper, "It's amazing to me that we have any teachers at all."

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