When a Teacher “Salary Freeze” Isn’t

The story with the embedded truth that step and lane changes lead to salary increases, even if the language says, "Salary freeze."

While I was doing the story on how the Rockford Register-Star is trying to hold onto circulation, I found a story on the Rockford school district that had an interesting paragraph.

Here it is:

Union contract talks

In March, the School Board approved a one-year contract extension with the Rockford Education Association. Pay and benefits were frozen for the year and carried over from the previous year. Employee step and lane increases, however, were still in place, so many union members are still earning more money this school year, despite the freeze.

I would hope that any reporter covering teacher salary negotiations would figure out and report this essential aspect of the story.


When a Teacher “Salary Freeze” Isn’t — 6 Comments

  1. So teachers and newspapers are happy to tell people about a “pay freeze” when teachers automatically get paid more money in salary the next year?

    Apparently there is no honesty regarding about telling the real truth to taxpayers.

    Isn’t this how newspapers help unions use “collective bargaining” to be untruthful about real salary increases?

  2. Anyone that has a job that receives tax dollars should be an employee of the people; yet the people are powerless against the unions. Problem? I think so…

  3. Does this sound like Dist 300? Teacher’s salaries are off limits when cuts are made.

    Suggestions that there have been teacher layofffs are suspect when you hear that, come fall (when no one is looking) teachers may be re-hired.

    Add to that, the School Board is proposing to lower the standards/curriculuum for graduation, from an already deficient standard.

    And if that isn’t enough smoke and mirrors what about those “masters degrees” that mean salary increases but have little to do with expanding their knowledge in their/teacher’s particular field, i.e., English, Science, etc.

    It is a gross disservice to the young people who leave Dist 300 schools, ill prepared for higher education or a rewarding job market.

    When are School Boards, and politicians, going to stand up to the Teachers Union?

    Other states are taking steps, time for Illinois to stand up.

  4. Make strikes illegal. That would stop a lot of nonsense.

    Until that happens, the unions are the only ones at the negotiating table.

    Everyone else in the room is just window dressing to make the public believe they really have representation in the process.

    Residents continue to praise administrators and board members who don’t always tell the truth – such as freezes that aren’t freezes or that teachers actually are paying the 9.4% they’re supposed to pay from their salaries into their own TRS/Pensions by law – when in fact the boards often assume those payments which in effect is an additional “raise” above and beyond the raises or lane change monies they are already getting or negotiate for…and so on. It’s all a big flipping game played on taxpayers, parents, children, and our country.

    And residents can’t quite accept that the people in charge of their children’s future frequently lie through their smiling teetch. They walk on tiptoe around these folks instead of roaring like lions. You’d think if they stopped to think that the money going into that bottomless financial pot of gold is coming from THEIR savings and THEIR CHILDREN’S savings and bank accounts THEY’D DEMAND CHANGE. However, they still vote the same people in. In these cases, NO ONE is being FOR THE CHILDREN.

  5. @you may want to know – The salary increases are not automatic, they are for teachers who have completed a specified amount of graduate studies. It is incentive pay to encourage teachers to continue their education beyond their bachelor’s degree.
    This is something that many people value in their education system and is something that increases property values by providing something concrete for outsiders to evaluate schools on.

    @Jim – Unions are powerful because of two words “Voter Turnout” they show up to local elections and have large enough numbers to make an impact. Get some people who share your beliefs to actually show up at the polls.

    @Lou Ann – What steps would you have them take, those similar to Wisconsin? Collective bargaining agree or disagree is a workers right. A strike is only as stong as the unions value to the people. If a Union Strikes and you feel you can easiliy replace them, fire them and hire replacements. Fight strong against them. If you think you can fire them fire them, but don’t take away their rights to fight for better lives for their families.

    @For Dee and Alan – Really!? The TRS paments by districts, is a district by district decision that is typically used as a recruiting tool to draw more applicants for jobs. Most Districts require their teachers to make thier own TRS contributions – not that it matters because the state just takes the money that is set aside and then when the bill comes due cries broke.

    I’m not a teacher, but in full discosure have a lot of teachers among my friends and famiy. I think education reform is an important issue that must be addressed. The problems in the education system are not solely the fault of the union. The union has part of the blame, as do the legislators at the state and federal level, as well as the parents.

    The problem is there are few good solutions. People like to say vouchers are a solution, but the problem is cuts are made to the curriculum rather than to extracurriculars because pandering to the masses means keeping and adding sports and extracurriculars in an attempt to get enough students into your school to pay the bills and keep your school open.

    Merit Pay has some validity and I think might be a good way to go The problem is all it takes is one parent who is on their high horse about some moral issue to take something out of context and get a teacher fired for something harmless.

    People like to talk about getting rid of Tenure, but what about the teachers that want to push their kids and see them succeed and want to try things that go against the grain of the administration? They would simply get pushed out, or terminated for not following established protocols. I know I would rather my child’s education be in the hands of Educators not Administrators. I do think Tenure is something that is abused and that some sort of a step program is something that can be used to force teachers to follow a set of protocols and deter laziness.

    I guess my point is this, QUIT BLAMING THE UNIOINS!!! They share in the blame but they are not the reason for – nor is attacking them the solution to – our education issues.

    Find creative solutions instead of pointing out the problems. It’s easy to tear something down – try finding REAL ways to make it better.

  6. Michael K, the article states “Employee step and lane increases, however, were still in place”. Step increases ARE automatic, and happen each year.

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