School District Needs To Retain Its Teachers

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I noticed that the Phoenix Police Department recently ran a recruitment ad in the Roundup in the Sept. 26, 2000 issue.

How long will it be before Phoenix area schools attempt to recruit Payson area teachers via the Roundup?

A national magazine recently stated that over 50 percent of current teachers will either retire or change careers by the year 2010. How will Payson obtain its teachers when the salaries it pays its teachers is noncompetitive with Valley area school districts?

I can visualize the future teacher recruitment ad already: "Earn $6,000 to $7,000 more per year by teaching in the East Valley! Drive the scenic, four-lane divided state route 87 (carpools are forming now) and enhance your teacher earning power. Over a 30-year teaching career, earn $180,000 to $210,000 more for teaching the same subjects and same number of students."

The teacher recruitment and retention problem is for real and will affect the Payson Unified School District as well as other districts in Arizona.

What can PUSD do to meet this challenge?

PUSD can do any, all or none of the following:

1. Continue on as usual and hope teachers are attracted to PUSD.

2. Vote for Prop. 301 in November and use the funds (if passed) to increase teacher salaries.

3. Encourage the PUSD Board and Superintendent to call for an override election to earmark funds to increase teacher salaries to at least the national average.

A teacher crisis looms on the horizon. Who will teach our Payson area students when the current crop of educators retire and/or opt for more lucrative careers?

Options 2 and 3 above seem to be viable responses to the teacher recruitment and retention problem that is at our doorstep.

Richard K. Meszer, Ed. D., Payson

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