Thursday, December 8

Not that I Want to Teach High School, but...

Should high school teachers make more than college professors?
...after months of working without a contract, teachers at Carbondale Community High School are sounding off.

Teachers at the school say proposed salary increases barely cover cost of living increases and that the school's Board of Education refuses to help teachers cover the cost of escalating health insurance.

The union's lead negotiator, long-time mathematics instructor Cynthia Donoghue, said teachers are fed up with stalled contract talks and hope the community will pressure administrators to be more flexible. Donoghue said union members have launched informational e-mail campaigns and plan to picket at the school this morning and Friday afternoon.

"Really we just want to let people know what is going on," Donoghue said. "If people know, I think they would really rally behind us."

The teachers' latest proposal calls for a total dollar increase of 22.5 percent spread over three years. In the first year, a teacher's annual salary would increase by 7.12 percent, followed by 7.68 percent and 7.71 percent increases in years two and three.

The seven-member board countered with a proposal outlining a 13.5 percent salary increase over three years, which board president Barbara Levine calls a "last, best and final offer." In that proposal, salaries would increase by 4 percent in year one, followed by 4.5 percent and 5 percent in years two and three.

Last year, Carbondale high school teachers made an average $57,108 a year and worked under one of the highest salary schedules in southern Illinois. A teacher's pay increases automatically each year based on experience and education.

This year, Donoghue said the average teacher salary is down to $53,319 because a dozen higher-paid employees retired last year.
Down to $53,319!

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