As a teacher, I would like to thank Max Mertz for his support of the teachers.
However, his "My Turn" column left me with a few questions and more than a few comments. Mr. Mertz's position with the district is a valuable one, as are teachers. I don't discount what Mr. Mertz is saying about the state of finances, but I do question the way the finances are allocated. As the auditor for the School District, how much does Mr. Mertz make? What percentage of the money that goes to funding the employees of the school district is used for the administrators' salaries and Mr. Mertz's salary?
There are many teachers in the district that are barely making ends meet. This district is currently offering "step and column," without a 2 percent increase to my salary and this is insulting to me as a professional. The administrators in this district were given the equivalent of a $5,000 raise. Why wasn't a raise budgeted in for the teachers? We currently aren't even meeting the cost of living in Juneau, nor is the district willing to negotiate that this year. The district continues to hire new administrators while cutting teachers. There is never any mention of an administrative cut, but there is plenty of commentary on cutting teachers and increasing the ratio of student to teachers.
Where is the vision of this district headed? If it truly values children, it should value all the components of education. I did not go into the teaching profession because of money; however, I could see leaving the teaching profession because of money. The students are why I stay in this profession. They inspire and challenge me and make my job satisfying. The bureaucracy and lack of professionalism shown to teachers in this district are driving quality teachers away. Teachers deserve A Better Contract. We are worth it and so are the children of Juneau.