The March 20 Daily Herald noted that 42 percent of District 211 educators retire with a pension of over $100,000 a year. I suspect that many other district employees retire just shy of that figure. Whether it's District 211 or elsewhere, how can we sustain a system in which teachers retire on an income that is more than twice the working income of so many private sector employees? Why do school boards approve these deals? To be competitive with other districts, whose salary and retirement plans are no less generous?
But don't school boards, union leaders and union members consider the impact these deals have on their neighbors, the rest of us in the private sector who will never make close to $100,000 a year and certainly never retire on that?
In great part, we finance these deals through property taxes that have gotten so high that our homes have become unaffordable and unmarketable. Yes, pursue the best teachers and administrators, but "dedicated" teacher and administrator has to be a part of the formula too. We need dedicated teachers and administrators, people who truly want to be a part of their community in every way, not above it.
I want teachers and administrators who are willing to work at a price that we can afford to pay, people whose interest in teaching weighs more heavily toward public service and interest in our kids and less so to the prospects of a fat check in lieu of a strike. My neighbors work as plumbers, nurses, drivers, cashiers, HVAC, military and data processing. If as a teacher you think that you are more important than they are, that you deserve to make and retire on far more than they will, then "dedicated" isn't part of being the "best."
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