Your Views: Janesville teachers deserve rewards for service, sacrifice

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Friday, September 20, 2013

This week the Janesville School District added to its pile of accolades an impressive rating on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s new district report cards. Janesville scored highest compared to all other area districts. In addition, noted gains continue to be made in closing the achievement gap and improving graduation rates.

Buried underneath the promotional pile are the Janesville district’s practices that contradict the praise. Janesville’s educators have done amazing things over these past few years, managing rising student needs with continually declining resources, yet teachers have been left in limbo for months regarding salary compensation.

This school season, Janesville’s professional educators have been hit with significant cuts to their take-home pay as they assume larger percentages of the district’s health care and retirement expenses. Reasonably, most districts in the state have recognized this unprecedented hardship and, thus, freely granted moderate raises to ease the burden put on teachers’ family budgets.

To be clear—even with an offsetting raise, almost all teachers will still be thousands of dollars in the hole. I am dismayed by the Janesville School Board’s unwillingness to follow the lead of neighboring districts and acknowledge the sacrifices being made by professional educators to maintain quality educational services.

The lack of public discussion leads to speculation that the board’s settlement stall is about retribution. Punishing Janesville teachers for adhering to a mutually agreed, democratically approved contract is wrong. My kids’ teachers deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their service and sacrifice.



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