Who Will Be My Teacher?
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Who will be my teacher?” my son asked me years ago. For a brief point in time, the teacher was the most important person in his young life.
As children head back to school and parents scramble with new schedules, schools are facing their own scheduling headaches. This year a teacher shortage hit many local schools. Around the state, school districts have hundreds of vacancies.
Recently, I presented an overview of state education budget issues in Viroqua. At least a dozen local superintendents, school board members, principals and teachers were in the audience. Following my presentation, the conversation turned to the teacher shortage.
Educators described an environment in which teachers in certain high demand subject areas move from one school district to another based on the best offer.
Two superintendents from neighboring school districts laughed when they realized they spent the summer bidding against each other to snag the same teacher. “Now we have teachers who come back [to our school] and say, ‘I’m getting a $6,000 increase in an offer from another school.’”
A staff member paid a $12,000 raise creates problems in districts where teachers went seven years with little raise in pay. John, a local teacher, told the group, “The impact on morale is just horrendous.”