01STOCK_MILTON_WATERTOWER

MILTON

Milton School District teachers received a raise that averaged 2% this year, but some teachers saw increases of less than 1%, a teachers union official said.

The school board approved the pay raises Feb. 8, wrapping up 2020-21 salary increases for all district employee groups.

Most teachers will not see 2% increases, said Renee Stieve, president of the Milton Education Association, the local teachers union, which did not accept the offer that the district imposed.

Stieve said 74% of teaching staff will get raises of less than 2%, and 67% will get raises that are less than the consumer price index of 1.81%.

Teacher compensation can get complicated. Besides the district’s pay raise, teachers who had good evaluations in 2019-20 receive merit increases, which range from $500 to $2,000 per teacher. Teachers also can receive salary increases for professional development.

Of the teachers who will receive 2% or more, most have completed continuing education credits or master’s degrees, Stieve said.

“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, district spokeswoman Kari Klebba 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.”

An increase of about 2% was given to most employee groups, according to a Feb. 8 district news release. In December, the school board approved a 7.35% increase for aides because their pay lagged the industry average.

Stieve said the issue is equity.

“Milton teachers understand that many families in our community are going through difficult times,” she said in a statement. “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 ...”

The district wants an agreement that is fiscally sustainable, she said, but “I think also what’s fiscally sustainable for your community is having a well-compensated staff to keep high-quality educators here.”

“The hope is to move forward and to find a solution to keep those high-quality educators,” she said.

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