March 27, 2011
Mr. Larry Booth (Northshore NOW, March 24) makes some interesting observations from looking at a page from the Department of Public Instruction’s website. I have made some observations from this page and elsewhere.
Fact #1: Despite having salary schedule increases between 0% and 3% for the last decade, Nicolet teachers’ average total compensation has grown by almost 29% in the last six years. How is this possible? Because of state-mandated revenue control limits, Nicolet has cut 25.8 teaching positions in the last six years. (See http://www.nicolet.k12.wi.us/cms_files/resources/faq.pdf , page 5) As less experienced teachers (who are compensated at a lower rate) have been let go, the average teacher salary has taken a leap.
Fact #2: Whether the referendum passes or fails, the average total compensation for teachers will hardly change. The purpose of the referendum is not to hire many more teachers or increase compensation for teachers, but to stop the annual staff layoffs which have become chronic at Nicolet. A failed referendum will result in larger class sizes and the elimination of programs, but not in reduction of salaries or benefits. In fact, a failed referendum will cause even more layoffs of less experienced teachers, and will actually raise the average compensation for the teachers who remain.
Fact #3: Despite Mr. Booth’s statement, Governor Walker’s budget bill will result in a 5.5% decrease in the amount that Nicolet is allowed to levy, which will cause even more layoffs if the referendum does not pass. (See http://www.nicolet.k12.wi.us/cms_files/resources/faq.pdf , page 3.) The referendum is absolutely needed to keep quality education at Nicolet.
Fact #4: Nicolet’s tax levy rate has been dropping regularly since revenue control limits were imposed in the mid-1990’s. In 1997-1998, Nicolet taxpayers paid $5.27 per each $1000 of equalized value for their homes. By 2010-2011, that rate had dropped to $3.88 per $1000 of equalized value. The drop in the rate was more than 26% in that time. (See http://www.nicolet.k12.wi.us/cms_files/resources/2010_annual_report.pdf , page 7)
Fact #5: After teaching at Nicolet for 17 years, I moved into the district when my oldest daughter was close to high-school age. We loved our house, neighbors, and local K-8 school, but the quality of the local high school was not as good as Nicolet’s. We could have moved anywhere in Southeastern Wisconsin; we moved into the Nicolet district because of the quality of Nicolet High School . Keeping Nicolet’s quality high is the best way that I know of to keep our communities desirable places to live and keep our property values high.
Nicolet High School Math Teacher since August 1993
Bayside Resident since April 2010
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