Oak Creek — Official salary numbers haven't been released publicly yet, but several teachers at Monday's annual meeting argued that tenured teachers are getting a bum deal this upcoming school year.
"There will be mentor teachers who get nothing while the people they're mentoring are going to get a 5 percent (raise)," teacher Kathy Scaffidi said. "Those two things don't seem to go together."
Oak Creek-Franklin School District administrators increased the pot of money for teacher salaries by the cost of living in the 2013-14 budget — but that extra money isn't being doled out in equal percentages to all teachers.
Tenured teachers will receive no pay raise while pay levels for teachers new to the district jumped.
Other complaints were that the bargaining process regarding teacher base pay moved slowly and no board members were involved in those discussions.
Teacher pay is high
School Board member Paul Mason defended the district's decision, arguing that increasing pay rates for new hires is a common business practice in the private sector and that teacher unions have been arguing for higher pay for newer employees for years.
He added that the Oak Creek-Franklin district has some of the highest paid tenured teachers in the state of Wisconsin.
According to 2012 Department of Public Instruction numbers, the district ranked 37th out of 449 districts statewide when comparing top teacher salary figures. The district ranked 52nd out of 449 when comparing lowest teacher salary, and 22nd for average salary. The highest paid teachers in the district, according to DPI, made $79,000 in 2012.
Union President Terry Grogan said that when Mason argued for a cost-of-living raise for Superintendent Sara Burmeister, he cited her longevity as a factor.
"She's great, top notch, but the longevity of the teachers is important, too," he added.
Say vs. Pay
Union members railed against this year's bargaining process, with Scaffidi saying that she wanted district administrators to sit down and "do a give and take" with the union like they previously before Act 10 changed the rules.
Sheryl Cerniglia, school board member, said "In the past it's always seemed that there has been a good, collegial relationship between the district and the unions, and I'm sensing, from a lot of different angles, that that hasn't been happening lately."
She added that she would like to see a board member sit in on the discussion and the suggestion was met with thunderous applause. She said she would be willing to personally sit in on the discussions, but would not advocate for either side.
Troy Hamblin, human resources director for the district, was not available for comment.
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