New salary schedule approved for De Pere teachers
By Ben Rodgers
DE PERE – The De Pere school board adopted a new salary schedule for teachers at its Monday, March 18, meeting.
“It’s our belief that someone coming to us shouldn’t take a salary cut,” said Superintendent Ben Villarruel. “If they’re coming to teaching from college with no teacher experience and no job experience, we put them at the minimum level and they advance over the years they stay here.”
The previous salary schedule had two lanes and 23 levels for each lane. The base pay was $40,665 and the highest pay was $65,665.
For the 2019-20 school year, when the new schedule goes into effect, there is just one lane with a base pay of $41,665 and a high pay of $65,665.
By the 2021-22 school year, the base pay increases to $43,655 with the highest pay staying at $65,665.
As teachers spend more years with the district, their pay increases. If they are new to the district, they are placed at a pay level appropriate to their experience.
“We’ve had significant changes with Act 10, so there are changes we just are cognizant of,” Villarruel said. “There is a shortage of teachers, and we want to put ourselves in a position where when we do have vacancies, hopefully teachers we will want to come and work in our school district. Part of it is compensation; part of it is the community itself. De Pere is a wonderful place, and it attracts a lot of good people for us.”
This January, the teachers union in De Pere surveyed members on the new schedule and the union approved it.
Approximately 15 teachers in the district will receive a raise when the new schedule is implemented, according to documents presented to the board.
One of the biggest changes is the district will no longer put pay increases on the table for teachers who have obtained their master’s degree.
“The master’s is no longer factored into it,” said Dawn Foeller, district business manager. “Things have changed over time, and sometimes what we perceive is people were going for master’s (degrees) and sometimes that wasn’t related to the field they were teaching here. So the biggest change is people can get to that higher level of compensation without a master’s degree.”
In other news, the board discussed the possibility of virtual learning days in response to the amount of snow days that have occurred this year.
“When you have a snow day, it’s an unexpected unplanned day,” said Shelly Thomas, director of curriculum. “Really a teacher would have to have a bank of activities planned for things, so it’s a drop-in for the day.”
Villarruel said it would be difficult to have virtual learning days in De Pere in part because the district can’t assume who has internet access and a computer.
He also said the model isn’t conducive when it comes to ensuring the best possible education for district students.
“You can’t develop a learning target if you haven’t planned appropriately, and that planning is based on the most recent classes,” Villarruel said. “You can’t have something in the can.”