The two recent articles (Our View and the one written by Carolyn Wall) were very good but didn't go far enough. I believe that the remarks made by Ginger Sparks that the proposed Trigger 2 money would not be going to teacher raises if it weren't required by the legislature.
Teacher pay schedules, in most districts in the United States, consist of vertical columns depicting academic achievement and horizontal rows showing years of service. After the 1997-1998 school year, this district changed the pay schedule under the subterfuge of improving the schedule. The school district added additional columns, making the rewards in academic achievement occur in smaller increments. The horizontal rows, previously depicting year of service, were redefined as just horizontal rows. In the past, teachers received an increase for each year of experience. Now, they move down the rows at the pleasure of the district. It is therefore possible for a teacher who has gained years of experience to not be compensated.
Recently, the school board announced that teachers would receive a small percentage pay raise. This is not a pay raise. A pay raise is when the entire pay schedule (column and row) reflects an increase. The board is allowing the teachers to move down a row, where previously it was a contractual fact. The whole change in the pay schedule seemed to be developed in order to hold back teacher pay increases for their experience. So much for this district's support of teacher pay.
This district frequently gives accolades to its teachers, and rightly so, but I believe that the district has raised the phrase "talk is cheap" to an art form. As John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 would say, "Give me a break."
Jerry Bessler, Payson
(Editor's note: Mr. Bessler's letter was reprinted due to a typographical error in a previous version.)