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LETTER: District 833 administration gains raises for the great work of all staff

In a recent article both the teachers union and 833 School Board chairman Ron Kath were quoted reporting on the different issues involved and how negotiations were progressing.

A few very important facts were not mentioned in the article that I feel the families of District 833 should be aware of.

This is not a case of teachers seeing a referendum being passed and simple asking to cash in on their next bargaining period. The current salaries for teachers in District 833 averages just above $53,000 per year. The average salaries for the six school districts that neighbor District 833 is just under $64,000.

In fact, of all the school districts in our state, District 833 does not even rank in the top 100 for average salaries for teachers! Districts in Little Falls, Esko and Hawley pay their teachers on average a higher wage.

District 833 is the sixth-largest district in the state, and yet salaries lag behind a majority of districts.

The top possible salary in District 833 is less than $10,000 above the average pay for the top six paying districts in our state.

Compare this to the salaries District 833 pays their superintendent and principals.

Our superintendent has a salary that in 2015 was ranked No. 27 in our state and 23 percent above the average salaries in districts surrounding ours. Our principals are paid about 7 percent above average salaries in districts surrounding ours.

I compare these numbers not to state that they are overpaid—we have great leadership and great teachers—but rather to demonstrate how far behind the salaries for our teachers has dropped, while superintendent and principal salaries have been rewarded for the outstanding job all have done in our district.

While our benefits in District 833 are very good, it does not, as Kath stated, come anywhere near making up for the vast difference in pay compared to other districts. With a large number of teachers retiring in the next 10 years or so, it will be difficult to replace them with educators who will stay for the long haul when they are making $7,000 to $15,000 per year less than many districts neighboring 833.

On their way to work, teachers in our district drive through other districts that pay their teachers more than we do. How will we attract talented educators who will be willing to take pay cuts to come join our district? The motto at the beginning of the school year was "We are all in it together." Let's work together to make this a reality.

Pat Quirk

Woodbury

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