Support Juneau's underpaid teachers

Posted: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What would you say if your boss told you to work 30 minutes more every day? What would you say if your boss also asked you to work an extra three days every year? You might ask how much more he was going to pay you to work an extra 100-plus hours, right?

What would you say if you were only given a 33 cents per hour raise (about 1 percent) over your current salary?

That is exactly what the Juneau School District originally proposed to its teachers. Currently, Juneau school teachers are some of the lowest paid teachers in Alaska. I would make about $8,500 more per year in Anchorage than I do here in Juneau. With the higher cost of living in Juneau, Anchorage teachers are making a much better wage than we do here. Even in tiny Ketchikan, I would make $3,500 more.

All the other districts have also negotiated reasonable raises over the next few years making the difference in wages even wider.

I didn't go into teaching to make a million bucks - but neither did I realize that I would barely be able to make ends meet.

I don't know why the Juneau School District is $2 million dollars in the hole, but it is not because of extravagant wages for teachers. If that were the case, the other school districts would be in much worse shape than we are. Something needs to be fixed, but it's not teachers' wages breaking the bank.

The next School Board meeting is at 6 p.m. today at the Juneau-Douglas High School library. Come and support Juneau teachers by letting the School Board know that they are valued by their community and they are worth more than 33 cents per hour raise.

Carole Bookless


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