Teacher pay ranges established

April 14, 2014

Menomonee Falls — After 18 months of research and development, the Menomonee Falls School District has unanimously approved a 2013-14 compensation plan for its teachers.

Superintendent Pat Greco said the new salary band system positions the district well for the future as the state has new expectations for teacher and student performance, and also promotes a culture of continuous improvement.

Under the new structure, a teacher with a bachelor's degree will receive a minimum of $40,000 and a maximum of $60,000. A teacher with a master's degree will be eligible for $46,000 to $77,000. Where a teacher falls within the range will be based on occupational education, performance, certifications and other improvement measures. The pay will be retroactive from the start of the school year.

"Our employees are the district's most valuable asset in providing the highest-quality learning experience for our students and the best service to the community," Greco said. "We recognize the skill, dedication and shared commitment of our team and each individual are critical to the success of our students."

Previously, salaries, benefits and other working conditions were negotiated between the district and five employee unions. Steps for years of service and lanes for continuing education were used to determine increases in teacher salaries. The passage of Act 10 and Act 32 by the Wisconsin Legislature took negotiations out of play, aside from base wages. Before the changes, Director of Human Resources Christiane Standlee said the teacher salary schedule at the master's level was maximized at $76,289.

While Greco and board members called the compensation plan market comparable, teacher and president of the Menomonee Falls Teachers Association Jeff Thompson said otherwise.

"Forty thousand dollars (as a starting salary) is a great way to attract teachers, but we also want to keep people like me who have been here for 20 years," he said. "Compensation is one thing, but I need to pay my bills and put food on the table. This is a great place to work, but it may not afford me to work." He went on to challenge the market comparability of the plan, pointing to numbers he collected from the state Department of Public Instruction and CESA.

The board acknowledged Thompson's feedback, and agreed to further investigate the information he presented.

"It's worth looking into what Jeff brought forward," board member Gina Palazzari said. "We have the latitude to change this at any time if our finances are in order."

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