Americans were forced to tighten their belts eight years ago. Douglas County teachers agreed to absorb monetary losses too, taking lowered pay and retirement contributions, most naively believing that once the economy rebounded and funding improved, they’d be compensated for their sacrifices. This hasn’t been the case. There is a glaring difference between what the district and school board says about valuing teachers and what they do. For example, DCSD ranks third highest for high school graduation rates in the state. The district however hesitates to share its recent 10.6 percent per student increase with its teachers, currently at approximately $500 per student. The cost of living in Douglas County increased by 11.2 percent the past six years, but teachers haven’t seen a raise during that time, recently offered 3⁄8 of a percent. In 1990, Douglas County teachers were the second highest paid in the state and are now at 14th.
These teachers aren’t asking for a windfall — just a fair, reasonable, and compensatory contract. Three-eighths of a percent is an insulting and embarrassing offer.
No teacher I know teaches because it’s a lucrative profession. They are passionate, dedicated, and principled. They understand the significance of their role in a young person’s life. They’re on the front lines of education every day. Unfortunately, the erosion and value of teaching nationally is now reflected locally. Quality teachers are an investment in the future of your children and grandchildren. Please speak up on behalf of these dedicated professionals.