Charlie Carlson of Carlson Dettmann was present to answer questions about the pay plan. The Stevens Point Area Board of Education did not respond to any comments or questions at the session, but will send out answers via email later in the week to those who had questions for them.
The listening session was for the board to gather opinions and suggestions on the pay plan before deciding to adopt it as is or make changes to it.
Carlson presented the plan to the board at a special board meeting Monday, May 19. Carlson presented three compensation plans, one for support staff, one for teachers and related staff and one for administration. The report said the district pay is currently market competitive for teachers but has issues of internal inequity that must be resolved.
The plan suggests a step-based plan to administer raises to the employees. With the new plan there are three categories for teachers and additional levels within those categories. Teachers will be classified as either an initial educator, a professional educator or a master educator. Within those categories are additional levels that come with 2- to 5-percent salary raises.
Not all teachers are currently making the minimum wage recommended by the pay plan. The plan recommends each teacher who is not being paid the minimum be moved up to minimum and every other teacher move up one step on the pay scale.
“Cost has been a concern in this district as in most across the state in terms of what you can afford,” Carlson said. “It would be nice if we could place people on the pay plan based on experience but the question ultimately is what will the implementation cost going to look like?”
Carlson said at the May 19 meeting he would like to be able to move all teachers up more than one step but it is not in the district’s budget. He also said levels two and three are not yet complete and he would like more time to finish putting those steps together.
Teachers can move through the levels with recommendations from their direct supervisors during annual reviews. Teachers must meet performance expectations and also have approval from human resources and the directors of elementary/secondary education.
The report calls for review of three internal inequities: existing teachers being paid less than recent hires due to hard-to-fill position pay rates, existing teachers receiving master’s degrees and not being compensated for them and experienced teachers earning less than recent hires with similar experience.
Tiffany Reindl, a teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, said if all teachers were rated at the top of the pay scale the district would not be able to pay everyone.
Carlson said he found it unlikely that every teacher would make it to the top at one time but if it did happen the pay would be equally divided.
Carlson Dettmann worked with a focus group of teachers and administrators to create the pay plan. The focus groups considered topics such as workload increasing, less focus on teaching, lack of trust and respect, internal pay inequity, financial uncertainty and lack of transparency.
Erin Pliska, a teacher at Stevens Point Area High School (SPASH), told the board she was leaving the district after five years to take a job in Rosholt, where they are offering her $6,600 more a year than she currently makes and she did not see hope for better compensation in her current position.
“I remember saying in my interview at SPASH that this would be my dream job,” Pliska said. “I wish that I could say this was still true. I hope you honestly consider what I have said for the fair compensation of other teachers. I am truly concerned that without fair compensation for dedicated qualified teachers that SPASH will become a revolving door for new teachers.”
Carlson also reiterated at a May 19 meeting and at the listening session that Carlson Dettmann has never recommended that any employee receive a cut in pay. He said the worst that would happen is someone would remain at the same pay they are currently receiving.
The board has taken no action on the pay plan yet. Their next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 9, at the Bliss Educational Center.