Teachers in the Milton School District, as a group, received a salary increase of about 2%, but some teachers will see an increase of less than 1% (.15%).
The school board approved the increase Feb. 8.
Most teachers will not see a 2% increase, said Renee Stieve, president of the Milton Education Association, which voted to reject the offer that the district then imposed.
According to Stieve, 74% of the district’s teaching staff will see an increase less than 2% and 67% will see an increase under the Consumer Price Index (1.81%).
Teacher compensation can get complicated.
In addition to the .15% increase, teachers who had a successful evaluation in 2019-2020 will receive their annual evaluation merit increase. Evaluation merit increases range from $500 to $2,000 per teacher. Teachers also can receive salary increases based on professional development.
Of the teachers who will receive an increase of 2% or more, Stieve said most are receiving an increase because they have completed continuing education credits or a master’s degree.
“A few large raises are distorting the overall picture, making the average much higher than what most are actually receiving,” she said.
In a statement from communications coordinator Kari Klebba, the district said: “Our current model for teacher compensation is designed so that every year there are differences in salary increases between individual teachers. The 2% increase for the teacher group is the overall increase for the group, some individuals will be above 2% and others below, depending on their level of Evaluation Merit and Professional Development increases for this year.”
According to a Feb. 8 school district news release, an increase of about 2% was given to most employee groups. At a December meeting, the board approved a higher pay increase of about 7.35% for aides based on a market review.
For MEA members, Stieve said the issue is equity.
In a statement she said: “Milton teachers understand that many families in our community are going through difficult times. However, offering all other school district employee groups a true 2% raise and not doing the same for teaching staff is tantamount to a slap in the face at a time when teachers are on the frontlines of this pandemic and have been championing a return to safe, responsible in-person instruction since the start of the school year.”
Since Act 10, teachers associations can negotiate increases up to CPI.
“Prior to this year, every year since Act 10, we have successfully negotiated the cost of CPI,” Stieve said.
The district talks about fiscal responsibility and needing to do something that is fiscally sustainable, she said.
“I think also what’s fiscally sustainable for your community is having a well-compensated staff to keep high quality educators here,” she said.
“If all other employee groups were offered a true 2%, I think there was some inequity and teachers are disappointed by that.”
From here, she said, “The hope is to move forward and to find a solution to keep those high quality educators.”