In Defense of Ida Teachers

In the Tuesday, March 17, 2015 edition of The Independent Superintendent of Ida Public Schools, Richard Carsten, had stated in an interview that teachers have received remuneration during the last five years equal to a 7.4% increase in pay. I’m not sure how he calculated this amount. I do know that in doing some very simple calculations of my own using budget reports filed with the State, I came up with the following: As a percentage of the budget, total teacher compensation accounted for 4.39% less of the 2013-2014 school year budget than it did in the 2009-2010 school year budget. And if you compare the actual dollar amount teachers cost Ida Public Schools over the same period, it has dropped by 14.38%.

There is no way I can respond to all the items in Mr. Carsten’s interview in one letter. I can bring up a fact. Ida teachers have not received an on-schedule pay raise since the 2010-2011 school year; there were no raises the preceding two years. Since then, Ida teachers at the top of the salary schedule have actually frozen their pay voluntarily by negotiating step increases for teachers lower on the salary schedule. The senior teachers have done this to try to keep good teachers from leaving the district. No one wants a revolving door of teachers; the students of Ida Public Schools deserve better than that. I will respond to other comments in Mr. Carsten’s interview another time.

Joseph M. Rathke
Ida Education Association President