Raise for subs will barely cover lunch

Posted February 27, 2012 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!

Tags: ,


February 27, 2012

Is it not the responsibility of the MCCSC to provide the public with a complete and clear list of agenda topics for each monthly school board meeting?

If anyone had been tracking the issue of substitute teacher compensation post-president Jim Muehling’s “pre-emptive comment” delivered in December, where he said “Peggy Chambers would be reviewing not only substitute teacher compensation but compensation of all nonunion support staff” in the near future, they would have, like me, been caught unawares by the announcement at a board meeting last month that Ms. Chambers was recommending a $3 dollar per day “raise” for MCCSC substitutes.

And where was this breaking news listed on the agenda? Conveniently hidden within the agenda topic of “SUPPORT STAFF HANDBOOK.”

To the casual observer, one might think, “Gee, that must be topics related to dress code, maybe computer use, ‘code of ethics’ and policy statements, or even rules regarding safety on the job or the annual employee picnic,” but not a “meat and potatoes” discussion of employee pay scale review!

A clever “smoke and mirrors” dodge by the administration and/or our school board, wouldn’t you say? The hot topic of substitute teacher compensation has been with us for almost a year now. For the past decade, the pay rate for MCCSC sub teachers has been flat; they have never been privy to the annual incremental pay increases awarded to other dedicated support staff members.

Plus, with the new (and questionably popular) extended day, these essential and educated individuals took a 15 percent pay cut, e.g., no pay adjustment for the extra hour per day they log.

Consider this: Your child during the course of their K-12 education will spend one (1) year under the guidance of a substitute teacher. And our school corporation feels that such a responsibility warrants the same compensation as a McDonald’s fry cook or roughly $8.25/hour; a rate that Peggy Chambers feels is in line with what other corporations pay their guest teachers with the exception of Richland-Bean Blossom, which, according to Chambers, is our “greatest competitor” for acquiring educated “fry cooks.”

The national average pay rate for substitute teachers is $105/day. But living in what appears to be a less-than-average community with less-than-average school leadership, that extra $3 a day will at least pay for a cafeteria lunch. So, count yourselves lucky, sub teachers — MCCCS is picking up the check! (Gratuity not included.)


By David Wierhake

Special to the H-T

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2012

The Herald-Times: MCCSC substitute teachers call for for increase in pay

Posted December 22, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!


By April Toler331-4353 | atoler@heraldt.com
December 17, 2011

Peggy Chambers

Pay for substitute teachers is up for review at Monroe County Community School Corp.

MCCSC has a pool of 260 substitute teachers and uses an average of about 75 per day, according to Peggy Chambers, MCCSC assistant superintendent for human resources.

The district pays $60 a day for noncertified teachers, $70 a day for certified teachers and $80 a day for retired MCCSC teachers.

After discussion initiated by MCCSC subs, Chambers said the district decided to take a closer look at the issue.

Additionally, the district takes an annual look at all support staff salary and benefit packages this time of year to coincide with the expiration of unionized support staff’s contracts, she said.

Unionized support staff includes bus drivers and monitors, custodians and food service employees. Nonunionized staff includes a number of groups, including substitute teachers, teacher aides, secretaries and coordinators, security guards and custodial supervisors.

“We are trying to address several employees,” Chambers said. “Almost all employee groups have expressed a concern about wages.”

One substitute teacher who has been vocal about a pay increase is David Wierhake, who is also a former MCCSC employee. Wierhake has addressed the school board a number of times asking for an increase in pay, particularly after the district made school days longer but did not increase substitute teachers’ pay.

“Essentially substitute teachers this year have taken a 15 percent pay cut,” Wierhake told the board.

Wierhake is asking the board to increase sub pay to the national average of $105 a day.

Chambers said the district’s pay rate is in line with similar districts. “We feel what we are offering our substitutes is comparable to what’s being offered to substitutes in the area,” she said.

Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corp. pays $65 for subs with an associate’s degree and $80 for those with a bachelor’s degree/teacher license.

Martinsville School District pays $64 for certified teachers and $60-$62 for noncertified; Eastern Greene Schools pays $60 for certified and $55 for noncertified; and Lafayette School Corp. pays a flat rate of $65 a day.

Indianapolis Public Schools has one of the highest pay rates at $125 for certified teachers; $75-$100 for noncertified and $150 for retired IPS teachers.

Chambers plans to make a recommendation to the board early next year.

MCCSC ‘Misuse’ Of Funds: Are iPads essential to learning?

Posted December 21, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!


A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute


The New York Times

LOS ALTOS, Calif. — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.

The Waldorf method is nearly a century old, but its foothold here among the digerati puts into sharp relief an intensifying debate about the role of computers in education.

“I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school,” said Alan Eagle, 50, whose daughter, Andie, is one of the 196 children at the Waldorf elementary school; his son William, 13, is at the nearby middle school. “The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Eagle knows a bit about technology. He holds a computer science degree from Dartmouth and works in executive communications at Google, where he has written speeches for the chairman, Eric E. Schmidt. He uses an iPad and a smartphone. But he says his daughter, a fifth grader, “doesn’t know how to use Google,” and his son is just learning. (Starting in eighth grade, the school endorses the limited use of gadgets.)

Three-quarters of the students here have parents with a strong high-tech connection. Mr. Eagle, like other parents, sees no contradiction. Technology, he says, has its time and place: “If I worked at Miramax and made good, artsy, rated R movies, I wouldn’t want my kids to see them until they were 17.”

While other schools in the region brag about their wired classrooms, the Waldorf school embraces a simple, retro look — blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils.

On a recent Tuesday, Andie Eagle and her fifth-grade classmates refreshed their knitting skills, crisscrossing wooden needles around balls of yarn, making fabric swatches. It’s an activity the school says helps develop problem-solving, patterning, math skills and coordination. The long-term goal: make socks.

Down the hall, a teacher drilled third-graders on multiplication by asking them to pretend to turn their bodies into lightning bolts. She asked them a math problem — four times five — and, in unison, they shouted “20” and zapped their fingers at the number on the blackboard. A roomful of human calculators.

In second grade, students standing in a circle learned language skills by repeating verses after the teacher, while simultaneously playing catch with bean bags. It’s an exercise aimed at synchronizing body and brain. Here, as in other classes, the day can start with a recitation or verse about God that reflects a nondenominational emphasis on the divine.

Andie’s teacher, Cathy Waheed, who is a former computer engineer, tries to make learning both irresistible and highly tactile. Last year she taught fractions by having the children cut up food — apples, quesadillas, cake — into quarters, halves and sixteenths.

“For three weeks, we ate our way through fractions,” she said. “When I made enough fractional pieces of cake to feed everyone, do you think I had their attention?”

Some education experts say that the push to equip classrooms with computers is unwarranted because studies do not clearly show that this leads to better test scores or other measurable gains.

Is learning through cake fractions and knitting any better? The Waldorf advocates make it tough to compare, partly because as private schools they administer no standardized tests in elementary grades. And they would be the first to admit that their early-grade students may not score well on such tests because, they say, they don’t drill them on a standardized math and reading curriculum.

When asked for evidence of the schools’ effectiveness, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America points to research by an affiliated group showing that 94 percent of students graduating from Waldorf high schools in the United States between 1994 and 2004 attended college, with many heading to prestigious institutions like Oberlin, Berkeley and Vassar.

Of course, that figure may not be surprising, given that these are students from families that value education highly enough to seek out a selective private school, and usually have the means to pay for it. And it is difficult to separate the effects of the low-tech instructional methods from other factors. For example, parents of students at the Los Altos school say it attracts great teachers who go through extensive training in the Waldorf approach, creating a strong sense of mission that can be lacking in other schools.

Absent clear evidence, the debate comes down to subjectivity, parental choice and a difference of opinion over a single world: engagement. Advocates for equipping schools with technology say computers can hold students’ attention and, in fact, that young people who have been weaned on electronic devices will not tune in without them.

Ann Flynn, director of education technology for the National School Boards Association, which represents school boards nationwide, said computers were essential. “If schools have access to the tools and can afford them, but are not using the tools, they are cheating our children,” Ms. Flynn said.

Paul Thomas, a former teacher and an associate professor of education at Furman University, who has written 12 books about public educational methods, disagreed, saying that “a spare approach to technology in the classroom will always benefit learning.”

“Teaching is a human experience,” he said. “Technology is a distraction when we need literacy, numeracy and critical thinking.”

And Waldorf parents argue that real engagement comes from great teachers with interesting lesson plans.

“Engagement is about human contact, the contact with the teacher, the contact with their peers,” said Pierre Laurent, 50, who works at a high-tech start-up and formerly worked at Intel and Microsoft. He has three children in Waldorf schools, which so impressed the family that his wife, Monica, joined one as a teacher in 2006.

And where advocates for stocking classrooms with technology say children need computer time to compete in the modern world, Waldorf parents counter: what’s the rush, given how easy it is to pick up those skills?

“It’s supereasy. It’s like learning to use toothpaste,” Mr. Eagle said. “At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.”

There are also plenty of high-tech parents at a Waldorf school in San Francisco and just north of it at the Greenwood School in Mill Valley, which doesn’t have Waldorf accreditation but is inspired by its principles.

California has some 40 Waldorf schools, giving it a disproportionate share — perhaps because the movement is growing roots here, said Lucy Wurtz, who, along with her husband, Brad, helped found the Waldorf high school in Los Altos in 2007. Mr. Wurtz is chief executive of Power Assure, which helps computer data centers reduce their energy load.

The Waldorf experience does not come cheap: annual tuition at the Silicon Valley schools is $17,750 for kindergarten through eighth grade and $24,400 for high school, though Ms. Wurtz said financial assistance was available. She says the typical Waldorf parent, who has a range of elite private and public schools to choose from, tends to be liberal and highly educated, with strong views about education; they also have a knowledge that when they are ready to teach their children about technology they have ample access and expertise at home.

The students, meanwhile, say they don’t pine for technology, nor have they gone completely cold turkey. Andie Eagle and her fifth-grade classmates say they occasionally watch movies. One girl, whose father works as an Apple engineer, says he sometimes asks her to test games he is debugging. One boy plays with flight-simulator programs on weekends.

The students say they can become frustrated when their parents and relatives get so wrapped up in phones and other devices. Aurad Kamkar, 11, said he recently went to visit cousins and found himself sitting around with five of them playing with their gadgets, not paying attention to him or each other. He started waving his arms at them: “I said: ‘Hello guys, I’m here.’ ”

Finn Heilig, 10, whose father works at Google, says he liked learning with pen and paper — rather than on a computer — because he could monitor his progress over the years.

“You can look back and see how sloppy your handwriting was in first grade. You can’t do that with computers ’cause all the letters are the same,” Finn said. “Besides, if you learn to write on paper, you can still write if water spills on the computer or the power goes out.”



“One More Shot At The Title”: MCCSC’s New Year’s Resolution

Posted December 14, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!




Remarks delivered by David Wierhake to the MCCSC School Board and Administration on Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

I would like to thank the Board and Superintendent DeMuth for granting me the time to speak out on behalf of all MCCSC substitute teachers.

But before I get started, I just want to say how delighted I was to see Dr. DeMuth in the audience at the Fairview Elementary School CODA Academy recital last Thursday. After only five lessons, my guitar student Christopher showcased his ease at finger-picking the acoustic guitar. We played a duet on a song I wrote called “Blue Santa”. Christopher did a fantastic job! I hope I live long enough to say, “I knew him when…”

We are nearing the one year anniversary of when I first addressed the Board (February 2011) regarding substitute teacher compensation or lack thereof. Many emails have been exchanged since that time; many ideas put on the table. When the 2011-12 MCCSC extended day made headlines, again the substitute teacher compensation issue came up. The Board elected NOT to increase the day rate for subs, and therefore indirectly administered a 15% pay cut to all dedicated guest teachers. I personally met  with Dr. DeMuth in August following the Board’s inaction and again put out the plea for fairness—a day’s pay for a day’s work e.g. if you want subs to work an additional hour, then find a way to pay them for said extra hour. My efforts proved futile. In fact, Dr. DeMuth said, “Why should we pay you more? We can get IU students for free.”

At that time many on the school board were of the mind that the ‘law’ of supply and demand rule and there will always be an adequate supply of willing—and desperate—sub teachers from our university community. But in reality, there actually has been a system-wide shortage of substitute teachers this year. Granted, this shortage varies from school to school, from day to day, but everyone I talk to within the halls of learning say that, “Yes, we are having a difficult time finding qualified substitute teachers.”

I put my heart and soul into every sub teaching assignment I sign up for. When I substitute in each and every school it is a win-win situation between the students and me; their smiling young faces enrich me and they are inspired by my experience, wisdom, and wit. It is not a win-win situation between MCCSC and myself as I am compensated for my time and talents at a rate that is slightly above minimum wage. (In speaking with two BHSS students today and I found out how dedicated they were to their part-time jobs. One young man works in the deli department at a local Kroger and the other pushes carts to and ‘fro at Walmart. We figured out I make about fifty cents more per hour than they do.)

So, where do we go from here?

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy addressed the graduating class of Vanderbilt University saying:

“You have responsibilities, in short, to use your talents for the benefit of the society which helped develop those talents. You must decide, as Goethe put it, whether you will be an anvil or a hammer, whether you will give to the world in which you were reared and educated the broadest possible benefits of that education.”

He went on to say that of the many special obligations incumbent upon an educated citizen, he would include one’s obligation to the pursuit of learning and the obligation to serve the public; to assist at every level of government the improvement of education for all Americans, from grade school to graduate school.

President Kennedy also said “…modern skeptics see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.“

At Bloomington High School North recently I had the pleasure of walking into a classroom engaged in viewing the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech. Please allow me to use some of Dr. King’s choice words:

There are those who ask me—David Wierhake, when will you be satisfied? I can never be satisfied as long as the leadership of this corporation fails to embrace this very important issue. I can never be satisfied as long as a MCCSC substitute teacher is compensated less than a MCCSC school crossing guard. I cannot be satisfied as long as the administration puts more emphasis on material resources than human resources. No, no, I am not satisfied and I will not be satisfied until the substitute teacher in this progressive community is rewarded adequately to the tune of $105/day (which is the national average) and treated with respect for the professional they are.

How many of you recall the movie A FEW GOOD MEN? Do you remember the scene where actor Tom Cruise is on the witness stand and Jack Nicholson shouts out, “You want the truth? You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

Again, quoting JFK’s remarks at Vanderbilt University (It) will still pass on to the youth of our land the full meaning of their rights and their responsibilities. And it will still be teaching the truth — the truth that makes us free and will keep us free.”

At Grandview Elementary School today it was a blessing to experience the K thru 3 Christmas music program. Bravo! At Grandview, they have their own code of ethics, but one thing rings out: “Do the right thing!”

I encourage the school board and administration to do the right thing. And, all I want for Christmas is an increase in the sub teachers pay rate that approaches the national average of $105/day in 2012.

Thank you and “Happy Holidays!”

David Wierhake

MCCSC Crossing Guards Paid More Than Twice The Hourly Rate Of Substitute Teachers

Posted August 24, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!


MCCSC School Board Meeting 23 August 2011

Comments delivered by MCSSC Substitute Teacher David Wierhake

I stand before you this evening with this red accordion in hand and my substitute teacher ‘Red Badge of Courage’ for no other reason than to make a point. I look out and in front of me I see the members of our school board, all elected by the community with the exception of Mr. Klein who failed to gain enough votes to serve on two occasions but who some how miraculously found his way into the boardroom by appointment. But I know Mr. Klein and the entire board take their jobs very seriously. But like the insides of this accordion, which by the way I on occasion take into the classroom, I cannot look into each one of your hearts to examine your moral and ethical makeup. And like an accordion, each one of you is different—different backgrounds, values, ‘tone and manner’ if you will.

The past three days I’ve filled in at Tri-North as a remediation aide, which is ‘housed’ in the ISD room. At most there are three students each period. They are not in trouble they just desire extra one-on-one assistance. Yet, I heard, “I don’t have anything to do.” When on any sub assignment I bring in books that I feel might interest students. My suggestions sometimes fall flat. I was moved after the first day to put up the sign: YOU CAN LEAD A PERSON TO KNOWLEDGE, BUT YOU CAN’T MAKE THEM THINK.

This bit of wisdom caused me to ponder yet another sign: YOU CAN ELECT SOMEONE TO A POSITION OF POWER, BUT YOU CAN’T MAKE THEM LEAD.

Everyone knows why I’m here. I’m speaking out on behalf of not only substitute teachers, but also all support staff members regarding fair and equitable compensation in light of the new extended school day.

School board president Jim Muehling said recently, “Data is critical.” In truth, ‘data’ is just data and can be manipulated to one’s own end. What is critical to making wise decisions is accurate, unbiased, and unfiltered information.

This past academic year sub teachers averaged $9.60/hr ($60/day 6.5-hour day). This year it’s $7.65/hr ($60/day 7.75-hour day). It’s interesting that Muehling was shaken by my suggestion of increasing sub pay rates to allow for the additional hour e.g. another $9-plus added to the day rate saying, “Suggesting the feasibility of a 15.4% increase is ludicrous in the mildest of descriptions…” Would Mr. Muehling—or the entire Board as Ms. Jeanette Butler is on record saying that Mr. Muehling is the official spokesperson and she would not comment further on this issue—characterize an almost 20% pay cut to sub teachers as “Ludicrous in the mildest of descriptions?” I certainly would. I can imagine that Mr. Muehling would consider no additional pay to sub teachers for that extra hour of work as ‘business as usual’ or the ‘law of supply and demand’.

FACT: Crossing guards made $15.68/hr in 2008. (What they are making in 2011-12 I know not, but I doubt they saw a 20% pay cut to their hourly rate.) Risking ‘life and limb’ entering into a 4-way stop with a hand-held STOP sign has its price, but twice the sub teacher hourly rate? Are said guards required to have 60 hours of college credit to oversee the safety of our walking-friendly children? “Top of the morning!” to this street-savvy group who now rise a bit earlier to earn their keep. No doubt the MCCSC ‘leadership’ has certain priorities regarding the compensation packages they sign off on.

On August 12th I met with new Superintendent Dr. DeMuth (Peggy Chambers of HR in attendance) regarding substitute teacher pay rates. She continued the same mantra as Mr. Muehling stating that the law of supply and demand rules and that the school corporation could get IU students for “free”. Everything is set, she said until January 2012, and then the administration would review this and other issues facing MCCSC. Then she waved multi-sheet document under my nose what she called a ‘study’ of sub teachers pay rates from surrounding communities. (She also referred to my ongoing email citizen comments as “barrages” and suggested that I had no power to ‘work with the school board’. (I had to enlighten her to the fact that the community elects school board members, and as such, I have all the power in the world to speak out as a citizen of both this community and the USA.) When I requested a copy of the report I was given this single sheet. As you can see this is nothing but a list of sub teacher pay rates corporation by corporation with no reference to school hours or length of day.

I would like to request that the Board take on an actual and factual study comparing not only neighboring school corporations regarding substitute teacher pay rates, but also other communities within the US that play home to universities or colleges. I have engaged in some research to augment the list that sub coordinator Patti Sparks supplied Dr. DeMuth and Ms. Chambers and would be more than willing to share this information or data.

In closing, I would like to quote Dr. Martin Luther King:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” and “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

And the issue regarding fair and equitable pay for substitute teachers within MCCSC sincerely matters to me.

David Wierhake

Bloomington IN

Ahhh, the first day of school—for a MCCSC substitute teacher!

Posted August 16, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!


In the words of school board president Jim Muehling, “Data is critical.” Of course, we all know that ‘data’ is just data and can be manipulated to one’s own end. What is important is accurate, unbiased, and unfiltered information. Here are some hard numbers to contemplate regarding the financial reality of the extended school day re: sub teachers.

Last year a sub teacher with MCCSC worked for the average rate of $9.60/hr ($60/day for a 6.5 hour day). This year—WITHOUT ANY PAY ADJUSTMENT—our subs will work for the average hourly rate of $7.65 ($60/day for the almost 8 hour day). This equates to a 20% PAY CUT.

It’s most interesting that Muehling was shaken by my suggestion of increasing sub teacher day rates to allow for the additional hour e.g. another $9-10 added to the $60/$70 rate structure, “Suggesting the feasibility of a 15.4% increase is ludicrous in the mildest of descriptions…”, when on the flip side of this equation the “educated and talented substitute pool” (Muehling’s words) is now taking a 20% PAY CUT. “Ludicrous in the mildest of descriptions” to quote the Board’s leadership who doesn’t mince words.

Now, ponder this: a MCCSC traffic control person (crossing guard) made $15.68/hr in 2008. Certainly risking ‘life and limb’ entering into a 4-way stop with a hand-held STOP sign has its price, but that’s over twice the hourly rate of a sub teacher. (Are traffic control guards required to have 60 hours of college credit under their belts to oversee the safety of our walking-friendly school kids? I wonder how much said guards are making this year? “Top of the morning!” to this street-savvy group of individuals who now have to rise a bit earlier in the day to earn their keep. And, ‘Kudos’ to them for their terrific lobbying efforts. They almost make as much as a bus driver! No doubt our school board and administration has certain priorities regarding compensation.)

David Wierhake
MCCSC Substitute Teacher

Reader Comments to HT OP ED

Posted August 13, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!

Tags: ,


Well said. Note that the more folks that are unemployed the more who are available for “substitute” work.

Consider too what the role of a substitute is conceived to be: adult supervision. What more?

But further one imagines that substitutes should likely be more consistent members of the community of educators and in this way be entrusted with more than prison guard duties. (oh, did I say that?)

If so, subs would not be itinerant workers who are in effect only valuable as a “responsible” party, they would be eligible for a “living wage”; however, there would be no available jobs for other itinerant laborers.

But when the other members of the community who are granted “full-time” status are reduced further and further to “standards” bearers and keyboard instructors who at best “negotiate” for 1% increase over 4 years…what would you expect from elite earners in the administration? — Douglas Storm

We get what we pay for: good substitute teachers are valuable, and it sounds like the school board representatives disrespected them here. —Mike B.


Personally, I agree subs should be paid more IF THEY FOLLOW PLANS left by teachers. I have had subs who just improvise their way through the day based on their whims. I would rather see the low paid staff taken care of. Secretaries, health aides, kitchen crew and custodians are paid a pittance for their steady and vital work to each of our schools. —kb


Thank you for taking the time to comment.

You make a good point re: IF THEY FOLLOW PLANS left by teachers. I personally do my best to follow the plans supplied by teachers. And, there is a bit of ‘improvisation’ involved in the execution/delivery of ANY plan. And, there are times when the plans left by a teacher are so scattered and incoherent that you must marvel how creative a sub teacher must be to ‘enlighten and inspire’ a classroom of strangers without a ‘script’ to follow.

I think we are on the same page and must lobby the wisest of the wise on our school board to include sub teachers (who also provide “steady and vital work to each of our schools”) as viable part of the MCCSC support staff and move forward with wage increases for ALL support staff—secretaries, health aides, culinary bandits, custodians, and, yes, SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS.

Since we are talking about “low paid staff”, have you read NICKELED AND DIMED: ON (NOT) GETTING BY IN AMERICA. Required reading for any certified teacher or the MCCSC school board and administration.


David Wierhake
actor • musician • songwriter
MCCSC substitute teacher


“I think we are on the same page and must lobby the wisest of the wise on our school board to include sub teachers (who also provide “steady and vital work to each of our schools”) as viable part of the MCCSC support staff and move forward with wage increases for ALL support staff—secretaries, health aides, culinary bandits, custodians, and, yes, SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS”

Like, like, like. While we depend on dedicated teachers to provide our children with an excellent education, it seems that those folks who keep the school buildings humming along are forgotten when it comes to wages/raises. —hoosiermom


“I think we are on the same page and must lobby the wisest of the wise on our school board to include sub teachers (who also provide “steady and vital work to each of our schools”) as viable part of the MCCSC support staff and move forward with wage increases for ALL support staff—secretaries, health aides, culinary bandits, custodians, and, yes, SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS”

Like, like, like. While we depend on dedicated teachers to provide our children with an excellent education, it seems that those folks who keep the school buildings humming along are forgotten when it comes to wages/raises. —hoosiermom


Not just forgotten, ignored & looked down upon. —Mike B.

Guest Editorial: The Herald-Times 10 August 2011

Posted August 10, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!




Sub teachers deserve a pay raise

August 10, 2011

This guest column is by Bloomington resident, substitute teacher and former MCCSC employee David Wierhake.

In February, I appeared before the MCCSC School Board to discuss compensation levels for substitute teachers. I explained that the day rate for substitute teachers has remained flat for the past decade, while there have been incremental annual pay increases for both staff and teachers alike.

I also referred to the national average pay rate for sub teachers to be approximately $105/day. (Source: National Substitute Teachers Alliance). Everyone seemed surprised saying, “That’s interesting. No one has brought this issue to our attention before.” One board member suggested that someone take on this issue as a “graduate thesis,” intimating that said issue might be outside the interest of the school board. Such an issue deserves more than some pet educational exercise; it is a real life issue involving real people who not only depend on sub teaching income to survive, but who thrive and excel within our educational system.

Upon learning that the new school year would be extending the teaching day, I contacted school board president Jim Muehling via email regarding pay adjustment for subs. Human resources assistant superintendent Peggy Chambers is on record saying “the school system could not function without substitute teachers” and superintendent Judy DeMuth said via an H-T chat that “our substitute teachers have a most difficult job and are extremely important to us.”

If you ask someone to work an hour longer in a day, one would expect you would compensate them for that additional hour, correct? Last year’s rate of $60/day non-certified teachers and $70/day certified teachers will remain in place — no increase for that additional hour. Adding another $9-$10 to that base would be in Muehling’s mind “out of the question.”

Muehling made the “apples and oranges” comparison between sub teachers and licensed teachers — who receive health care and retirement benefits — saying that teachers only got a 1 percent pay raise. From Mr. Muehling’s perspective, “. in a university community we are in a position to secure an educated and talented substitute pool which plays some role in the law of supply and demand” rather than the “law of fairness and ethics.”

In Madison, Wis., home to another Big Ten university, substitute teachers are included within the teacher’s union — Madison Teachers Inc. — privy to the benefits of contract negotiation, wage progression, sick leave, and health benefits; a university community where an educated and talented substitute pool exists, but where the “law of fairness and ethics” overrule Muehling’s “law of supply and demand.”

As the new MCCSC budget(s) come under discussion, I strongly urge our school board to find it within their hearts to work whatever financial magic they can and increase the day rate for sub teachers to compensate this talented yet silent pool of fill-in teachers who keep our schools running successfully. In other school systems throughout the U.S., substitute teachers are treated with dignity and respect as the professional educators they are, and receive compensation commensurate to the essential services they perform.

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2011


MCCSC Substitute Teachers TAKE ACTION NOW!

Posted August 10, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!


"An hour's pay for an hour's work!"

Unhappy with working an extra hour during the new extended school day with no adjustment to the $60/$70 day scale*?

Contact the MCCSC School Board and Superintendent Judy DeMuth to express your displeasure and urge them to use their upcoming WORK SESSION to find a way to increase the pay rate to $70/$80.

Jim Muehling, President

Kelly Smith, Assistant Secretary

Sue Wanzer

Keith Klein

Dr. Lois Sabo-Skelton

D Jeannine Butler

Dr. Judy A. DeMuth

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. —Dr. Martin Luther King

*National average day rate for sub teachers is $105/day. Source: National Substitute Teachers Alliance nsta.org

MCCSC Substitute Teachers: ‘Support Staff’ or Not?

Posted August 3, 2011 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!


"...in a university community we are in a position to secure an educated and talented substitute pool which plays some role in the law of supply and demand.” — MCCSC School Board President Jim Muehling

Thank your allowing me to speak out on the issue of substitute teachers compensation. I look forward to revisiting this issue on September 27th when the public is invited to make comments regarding the MCCSC budget(s).

In today’s WFIU/WTIU coverage (http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/mccsc-board-revenue-subs-raises/#) of yesterday’s MCCSC Board Meeting, reporter Sheemaka Neely quoted School Board President Jim Muehling, “Our first concern are the folks that are on staff now, our certified personnel as well as our support folks.”

Support folks? The school system could NOT function without the ‘support folks’ known as substitute teachers. (This statement is supported publicly by both Peggy Chambers and Judy DeMuth and no doubt countless teachers and aides. My hat is off to sub coordinator Patti Sparks for her dedication and savvy in keeping the schools functioning!) I am sincerely inviting the School Board and Corporation to spread the ‘concern’ and include substitute teachers in the corporation’s financial decisions! (On June 23rd Mr. Muehling communicated to me that “Mrs. Chambers is currently reviewing this (sub pay rate) and other support staff issues and will be making a report to the board in the near future.” So in reality Mr. Muehling did at one time consider sub teachers to be a part of ‘support staff’. And what was the content of the report to the Board regarding adjusting the pay rate for sub teachers? Nothing of any substance regarding this issue came to light at last night’s meeting. Are we, the public, to assume that such discussions never see the light of day as they are contained within the Board’s work session? I look forward to addressing this observation at the September board meeting.

A side note, I can only hope that Ms. Jeannine Butler was not totally serious in her statement that “teachers rather than teacher’s aides” must be present during those extra minutes added to the day. To quote an African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And, it takes a collective commitment and presence—aides, sub teachers, administrators alike—to educate our community’s children. I’ve witnessed the teaching talents of many a teacher’s aide—and substitute teachers for that matter, yours truly included—that rival if not exceed the talents and abilities of licensed teachers. And, I can’t help but comment on Mr. Kelly Smith noting that the school of today is a different animal than it was in ‘our’ time. My heart stopped still the day I was filling in for an inclusion aide in a elementary class and found that the teacher was inserting an audio CD of someone reading the book rather than taking the energy to read aloud. Yes, I love to listen to old radio dramas. And yes, it is sometimes soothing to hear a ‘book on tape or CD’. But there is something to be said for a real live person bringing a book to life. When I came across the book THE OLD WOMAN WHO NAMED THINGS at Fairview during the final week of school, I took it upon myself to share orally the book’s contents. I can’t tell you how thrilled my audiences were as we turned each page in anticipation of what would happen next. No doubt some ‘old ways’ need to remain in place as part of our ‘schools of the future’.)

Here is the coverage from WFIU radio regarding the substitute teacher pay rate (‘pay cut’) and extended day schedule. I’m also including a link to the NATIONAL SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS ALLIANCE http://www.nstasubs.org/ as Mr. Muehling stated last night that “data is critical”. Within this website you will find that Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) has introduced a bill to the New Jersey House of Representatives. This new bill is called the Substitute Teaching Improvement Act (see http://www.nstasubs.org/legislation.html) You will also find information on how other school systems value the role of substitute teacher. (Mr. Muehling—and the entire Board—might note that within the city of Madison, Wisconsin, home to the University of Wisconsin—another university town where an “educated and talented substitute pool exists”—the USO-MTI collective Bargaining Unit represents approximately 720 Substitute and Off Campus Program Teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District.) I’m also including a link to my political posting http://www.nowchangethis.com where you will find the complete text of last night’s comments. (PDF of my remarks attached for your immediate review.)

Thank you again for hearing my voice.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” — Dr. Martin Luther King



Though next year’s  Monroe County Community School Corporation budget is greater than last year’s,  some part-time personnel are concerned because newly-extended school days don’t equate to more dollars. During a meeting Tuesday, MCCSC substitute teacher David Wierhake urged the budget committee to increase substitute teachers’ pay. He said after being with the corporation for a decade, his pay has remained flat. He says an additional hour of work each day should equal more cash.“The rate is $60 for non-certified [teachers] and $70 for certified. So if you add an additional $10 on just to stay flat — not even addressing the fact that there’s been no pay increase for the past ten years — and I feel that we need to be validated for the sacrifices we make as well as the quality that we put into our time in educating the students in our community.”

School board president Jim Muehling said decreased funding from the state means it’s difficult enough to find funding for full time staff, so part-time employees will have to wait.“Our first concern are the folks that are on staff now, our certified personnel as well as our support folks,” Muehling said.  “Fortunately being in a community such as Bloomington with Indiana University there is a large number of folks that are interested in being substitute teachers. And so unfortunately we can not address that increase at this point in time.”

MCCSC Comptroller Tim Thrasher said this year’s general fund budget is just more than $65 million, a 1% increase over 2010. He said the corporation’s 2010 referendum brings in a little more than the corporation currently uses, but not so much that there’s disposable income or a need to ask for a lower tax rate. “The referendum budget doesn’t use quite all of the $7.5 million that’s generated,” he said. “There’s still a fair amount of uncertainty about where we’ll be going in future years in terms of state support. So in terms of the recommendation in 2012, we will request the full 14.02 cent tax rate.Thrasher said raises are expensive, adding the corporation values substitute teachers, but right now doesn’t have the budget to pay them more.