ome Platte County School District teachers are upset their salaries for teaching summer school have not increased in the past decade.
The teachers are making the case that teacher salaries for summer school are remaining the same despite Superintendent Mike Reik’s salary having increased by 50 percent during the past 11 years, as reported in a recent Landmark article.
The school board voted, at last week’s meeting, to provisionally approve salaries at the low rate but agreed to meet with members of a district teachers’ union on Tuesday, March 10.
Two district teachers spoke at the Thursday, Feb. 20 school board meeting to complain about what they consider low level pay for the summer session.
Leona Baskerville, who teaches eighth grade at Barry School, spoke at Thursday’s meeting and asked Platte County School Board members to reconsider summer school salaries.
Baskerville, a spokesman for Team Platte County, told those at the meeting that district officials had “chosen to circumvent Team Platte County (the district’s teachers’ union) and agreed to discuss pay without informing the union’s representatives.”
“This is a breach in protocol and sets into motion the possibility of upending the good faith negotiations we have been engaging in with the district over the years,” she said, according to a written copy of the statement she read at the meeting.
However, in an email Monday, Communications Coordinator Laura Hulett said salaries “are based on market comparisons” and added that teachers are ranked fifth of the 15 districts Platte County uses for comparison.
In the email, Hulett added that “Administrators are ranked lower than teachers in summer school pay.”
Hulett said Park Hill, West Platte, Smithville, North Kansas City, Kearney, Liberty, St. Joseph, Excelsior Springs, Raymore-Peculiar, Fort Osage, Blue Springs, Independence, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, and Platte County make up the “local 15” that Platte County R-3 uses for comparisons.
Teachers will be paid $133.50 per day for 20 days of teaching from Monday, June 1 through Friday, June 26, according to district information supplied at the meeting. The information also states that summer school instructors are to apply to be on staff during February.
Hulett said the board approved the salaries “to allow the district to move forward with filling summer school positions. District administration will follow up with Team Platte County and any further modifications could be made in the coming board meetings,” she said in an emailed statement.
Although teacher salaries during the session have remained stagnant, social worker pay increased from $26.70 to $27.50 per hour, which district information states would rank them as tied for third place in the overall ranking.
Paraprofessionals pay would increase from $13.50 to $14.50 per hour, ranking them fourth in the ranking. Pay for nurses will increase from $25 to $26.50 per hour, ranking them third, according to district information.
Teachers have received a 70 cent per hour raise since 2004, with pay having increased from $2,600 to $2,670, said Ashleigh McCarty, who also teaches eighth grade at Barry School.
Team Platte County members also are concerned about the board approving pay for extra administrative staff at the buildings where summer school will be hosted. “We don’t need two administrators per site,” McCarty said and added that supervisors don’t play much of a role in summer school.
Teachers handle discipline, schedule and attend field trips and teach without even having a break during the day, she said.
But Hulett said administrators always have been employed during summer school. “We have expanded the opportunity in recent years to provide teachers with leadership experience,” Hulett added.
“Why is the money not being used to increase summer school teacher pay?” McCarty asked during a telephone interview.
“This was not done at the cost of summer school salary increases,” Hulett said in an emailed statement.
Hulett denied that administrators are being employed at summer school in order to help those seeking higher degrees garner credits toward degree programs.
“All of our certified staff have the opportunity to apply for a summer school administrator position and gain leadership experience. Whether or not the candidates are seeking advanced degrees is not the deciding factor. The purpose of utilizing our staff for administrator positions in the summer is to provide those with administrative aspirations an opportunity to lead a building on a smaller scale/timeframe. It’s a ‘grow your own’ training tactic,” Hulett said.
“This prepares us to have some internal, qualified candidates for potential openings/retirements in leadership positions at our district. As stated in our mission, we’re ‘preparing all learners for success in life,’ including our staff. We’re not ‘creating leadership experiences.’ They are there and need to be filled.”