School board invests in people

On June 17, the school board voted unanimously on new 3-year contracts for teachers and classified staff.  The contracts provide a 2% raise next year and 1% in each of the following years.  As a fiscal conservative who has advocated vehemently for responsible spending, I had to be thoroughly convinced this was an appropriate investment that would focus our limited resources on improving education.  I ended up agreeing for three reasons:  1) we are moving in the right direction educationally; 2) we believe this is the best place to spend our limited funds to ensure we keep moving in the right direction; and 3) the administration committed to the school board to offset the cost of the raises so there is no impact to the bottom line.

This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.  There are compelling arguments on both sides.  This decision was especially tough knowing how far from stable the current economic situation is.

On the other hand, in economic times like these, it’s more important than ever to invest in our future.  We must prepare our children to face changes and challenges.  To do that, we need to keep our schools strong.

The three points that convinced me this investment is worth it are:

  1. Our district is moving in the right direction educationally.  Preliminary results from this year’s Ohio Achievement Assessments were shared with the board in executive session prior to the vote.  They are fantastic.  The progress made in a few short years is staggering and shows what a commitment our team has to our children.Likewise, we heard several presentations on curriculum.  The work to move our curriculum to engaging content that teaches our children the requirements plus decision-making, creativity, and teamwork shows how we are addressing not only core learning, but future needs.
  2. The administration believes this is the best place to spend our limited funds in order to keep this momentum going.  We currently have an excited, committed and creative team.  The administration feels strongly that investing in our people right now is the best way to keep our education as strong as possible.
  3. The administration committed that these raises will not impact the bottom line.  The administration felt so strongly that this investment is best for the district that they committed to finding other ways to reduce expenses to offset the cost of the raises.  The teachers helped by agreeing to 33% less than the amount budgeted.

Any decisions involving money are tough, especially in times like these.  I did not make this decision lightly, and my fellow board members put much consideration into their votes as well.  I do believe this will strengthen our schools, focusing our money on supporting education, while not adding to our cost.  I hope you in the community will support this decision as well.

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One Response to “School board invests in people”

  1. Tom Cannon Says:

    Taking into consideration their very generous benefits, step increases, and salaries, our teachers are being paid very well. In fact they fare better than most in the state. So, are we to believe that they deserves a pay raise for performing the work that they are already being paid to do? You can quote all the statistics you want about how great the results are. But, isn’t that what the community already paid for?

    Your number two implies that a guarantee of more raises in the next years is the best way for continued performance. You call it momentum. One could argue that if the raises are already in the bag, where’s the incentive to keep this momentum going? And why is it always more money, more money? Is the administration so completely impotent that it needs handouts to motivate people?

    Your statement that the teachers helped by agreeing to 33% less than the amount budgeted is really empty. They are getting raises in one of the worst economies this nation has ever seen. So why recognize this as a sacrifice? There are many in the community that not only don’t get a raise but don’t even have a job. And they will have to pay the taxes to give those teachers their raises. They are the ones making a sacrifice. Certainly not the unions.

    Your number three doesn’t make any sense to me. It reminds me of a shell game. How can the district add 4% to the salary and benefits cost and cut enough spending to cover the entire amount? Are we to believe that there is this much “fat” in the spending now? Why is there any fat at all? I don’t believe these cuts will ever happen.

    There are reasons why raises are sometimes in order. Increases in the cost of living and/or inflation are some of them. None of those things are in play here. Nor is there a discrepancy in pay with other districts. Sorry Andrea, I can’t go along with your reasoning. It all seems based on emotion to me.

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