Monday, February 7, 2011

Stepping Up?

For many years educators have taken step increases for granted. Step increases are the small bumps in salary that happen for every year of service. For most educators in the state they are "stepping" for about 15 years on the state salary schedule and even longer on their local schedules.

Last year, step 15 with a Masters Degree was $44,428 per year. Add another 30% from their local school district then you are talking big money, approaching $58,000 per year. In case you missed it folks, that was sarcasm.

In any regard, in tough economic times, even these modest incremental increases are not guaranteed. The legislature must vote to fund the steps.

This year two factors are playing havoc with educator steps. First, the Governor's recommended budget is only for teachers and para-professionals to receive step increases. That means no secretaries, no custodians, and no food service. Second, educator step increases have now become more of a public issue than in the last two tough budgets; with the result being that there is some discontent being heard from other state workers who are not receiving any kind of increases.

Limiting education step increases to teachers and para-professionals is a break with not only budgeting tradition but with the education community culture as well. Educators take seriously the idea of a school community where every adult in the system contributes to the education of a child. Many students have special bonds with the school custodian or food service worker (the kids would say "cafeteria lady").

Separating teachers and para-professionals with steps in the middle of education reform is not good for the education community. There has already been some misunderstanding about education reform centering almost exclusively around teachers and ignoring other education professionals. This move seems to compound that undesirable direction.

The Delaware State Education Association is taking a strong position that they want all educators to receive step increases. The education community is united in their mission of educating children, and they should be united in fair compensation.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Tim. A good description of the situation and a good statement of what is important to DSEA, its members, and its mission.