District works to get equal footing

Hard-to-fill positions now have higher salary range

Feb. 12, 2013

Germantown - The Germantown School District can now offer market comparable salaries for specific teaching positions that are historically hard to fill should the need arise.

The School Board approved on Monday an increase to the compensation range for teaching positions specifically in these areas that tend to have more vacancies across districts than there are teachers to fill them: special education, English as a Second Language, speech, language and reading, family consumer education, and alternative education.

This means the district can pay more in the 2013-14 school year than they normally would for a person's experience level. For example, someone with two years experience could be paid as if they had three years experience, just in those specific areas.

"Part of the reason is a supply-and-demand issue in that there are more vacancies in the state than there are people who are certified and I'm trying to ask for some latitude so when we have new hires in these hard-to-fill areas that we have some latitude to increase the pay," Director of Human Resources Cynthia Coley said during the Personnel Committee meeting Monday. "Lets say it's a person with two years of experience, but because I know it is a hard to fill area, I'd like to be able to have the latitude to go up to three years experience with that."

The pay scale for those specific positions is:

One to three years experience, $38,000 to $48,000

Four to six years, $41,000 to $54,000

Seven to nine years, $44,000 to 60,000

10 or more years, $48,000 to $74,000

Pay also depends on the teacher's level of education. Their salary would be higher, for example, if they have their master's degree. The original starting salary was $35,500 for someone with a bachelor's degree and one year of experience. Someone with three year's experience would make $38,302.

For the 2011-12 school year, the average starting salary out of 35 school districts in Southeastern Wisconsin was $37,026, Coley said.

"If you have two special education teachers or ESL teachers looking for a job and our district is offering $35,500 and other district's are offering $38,000, Cynthia can't be market comparable because she kind of has to go with $35,000 and this gives her the latitude just for those positions to go to that higher salary in the hopes of filling those positions," Superintendent Susan Borden said.

School Board member Bruce Warnimont asked the board to look at this carefully because "it's going to be very difficult explaining to teachers that feel slighted - right, wrong or indifferent - who are still going to feel slighted when these things come up."

He said they should start to discuss how they are going to design a pay scale based on experience and education for the current school year.

This item was not discussed further at the board level and was a unanimous decision.

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