From: WAOwens
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Education Funding: truth in salary
Date: Thu May 15 02:23:18 MDT 2014
Dear Senator Jenkins, I want to start by saying thanks for responding to my email and for meeting with me back in March, during the legislative session. When we talked, we discussed the nationally low funding for education, which many in our state seem to think is not a problem. I recall that you were then under the impression that teachers have not taken a loss in pay, as the minimal increases in WPU over the past years should have resulted a "hold harmless" status. This afternoon our Davis Education Association revealed the results of our contract negotiations: because the large district contribution to the employees' retirement system (5th year in a row), the 2.5% WPU increase from this year was entirely eaten up, leaving only enough for a $500 total one time bonus in leu of a salary step or lane increase. My wife noted that, according to our recent Utah Retirement System annual statement (see attachment, summarizing before tax salary), we have indeed had a pay cut, still not regaining the losses experienced since 2008. Much has been publicized about the military employees losing salary because of the sequester, but I wonder how many in the public OR the legislature realize the losses teachers have suffered from cutting teacher work days over the past 6 years (including a loss of most teacher prep days and some instructional days). You may note the incremental increases in the salary levels from the years previous to 2008, which correlates to the tome I completed credits above my degree and culminated in a masters degree, all in the effort to become a more Highly Qualified Educator. I have enjoyed being a teacher and the opportunity to serve the students, the future of our society, and wonder how I made it at all when I started in 2005 with only $36 K income, especially with 3 kids at that time. Now with 5 children, teenagers driving, etc. and not getting a raise, I have chosen to take a second job to try to support my family, even though that takes me away from the family for those extra work hours. I apologize for the length of this message, but I hope that you will help your colleagues on the hill to see that education has NOT been held harmless and minimal increases in the WPU are not fulfilling the responsibility if the state to educate its children in a rate commensurate with the economic recovery since the 2008 crisis. There were surpluses in education income to the state in recent years, culminating with the $242 million surplus this past year. Davis county schools educate nearly 10% of the state student population. Therefore, if we received 10% of the surplus from last year, that $24 million would have funded steps and lanes for our teachers for 5 years into the future! I appreciate your patience and hope that one teachers real experiences are a bell-weather of the state of education funding, grossly less than what teachers and our students deserve. Sincerely, Andrew Owens Clinton City resident, Senate District 20