Guest Editorial: The Herald-Times 10 August 2011

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

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HeraldTimesOnline.com

GUEST COLUMN

Sub teachers deserve a pay raise

HeraldTimesOnline.com
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

http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2011/08/10/digitalcity.qp-9673972.sto

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MCCSC Substitute Teachers TAKE ACTION NOW!

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

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"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
jmuehlin@mccsc.edu

Kelly Smith, Assistant Secretary
wksmith@mccsc.edu

Sue Wanzer
swanzer@mccsc.edu

Keith Klein
kklein@mccsc.edu

Dr. Lois Sabo-Skelton
lskelton@mccsc.edu

D Jeannine Butler
djbutler@mccsc.edu

Dr. Judy A. DeMuth
jdemuth@mccsc.edu

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!

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"...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

———————

WFIU/WTIU Story:

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.

SUBSTITUTE TEACHER SPEAKS OUT!

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

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MCCSC SCHOOL BOARD MEETING PUBLIC COMMENTS (2 August 2011)
Remarks Delivered by David Wierhake, MCCSC Substitute Teacher

My name is David Wierhake. I am an actor, musician, and songwriter, and I’m a veteran substitute teacher ‘employed’ by MCCSC. I am here to speak out on behalf of all substitute teachers within this school system.

Many of you may recall that I appeared before the Board in February of this year. The topic of my discussion was 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 for a full day according to the National Substitute Teachers Alliance. (For the record I would like to include the Substitute Teacher Bill of Rights from the NSTA as part of my statement.) The Board seemed mildly surprised saying that, “That’s interesting. No one has brought this issue to our attention before.” With all due respect to the Board member who suggested someone take on this issue as a “graduate student thesis” or the like, intimating that it might be outside the interest of the MCCSC School Board, I would say that this issue is not some pet educational exercise, but a real life issue involving people like me, who not only depend on supplemental income from sub teaching, but who thrive within the educational system.

Upon learning that the new school year would be extending the teaching day in elementary, middle, and high schools by approximately one hour, I contact School Board President Jim Muehling via email regarding pay adjustment for sub teachers to compensate us for the additional hour of our time. Everyone is in agreement—from Peggy Chambers to our new superintendent Judy DeMuth—that the school system could not function without sub teachers, and, quoting Superintendent DeMuth from an HT Online Chat in response to my sub teachers pay rate query, “Our substitute teachers have a most difficult job and are extremely important to us.” Mr. Muehling and I—and I’m including copies of our email discussions for the record, and, everyone on the Board received electronic copies of our discourse—engaged in thoughtful discussion concerning a pay increase for subs. From my perspective, IF you extend our working day by an hour, based on our past pay rate of $60/day non-certified and $70/day certified, an additional $10 would be added to said day rates e.g. $70 and $80 respectively. Mr. Muehling considered such a pay increase to be out of the question and made a ‘apples and oranges’ comparison between sub teachers and licensed/union teachers—who receive healthcare and retirement benefits and paid summers off—saying that teachers only got a 1% pay raise. From Mr. Muehling’s perspective it’s, “…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 morality.

Unfortunately, during our continued discussion Mr. Muehling lost his ‘virtual temper’ in response to my usage of the phrase “dear sir” to punctuate my point. He immediately became ‘Judge, Jury, and Executioner’ regarding any further discussion on this issue, and even donned the hat of ‘career counselor’. Please allow me to quote Mr. Muehling:

“If the compensation is such that it is beneath the time and energy you devote to the task, I personally do strongly and quite emphatically urge you to seek another line of work. Suggesting the feasibility of a 15.4% increase is ludicrous in the mildest of descriptions…”dear sir”. End of discussion.

Such a response in my mind is totally unbecoming of an elected official, an official who supposedly leads MCCSC. I hope that at the end of my remarks, Mr. Muehling can somehow shed some light on his comments.

According to Patti Sparks, substitute teacher coordinator, and our new superintendent, the pay rate for sub teachers will remain the same, or in other words, sub teachers will be getting a dock in pay. As this new budget or budgets come under discussion, I strongly urge the 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 teachers who keep our schools running.

Thank you.

David Wierhake

p.s. Here is the coverage from WFIU radio regarding the substitute teacher ‘pay cut’ and according to School Board President, “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’ e.g. substitute teachers. Spread the concern and include substitute teachers in the corporation’s financial decisions!
————————-

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.

ABOUT THE REPORTER:

Shameka Neely, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enthusiastically joined WTIU as Senior Reporter/ InFocus Producer in the news department. Shameka previously worked at Western Kentucky University located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as Coordinator for Minority Student Recruitment. In past years she has also, hosted a Public Affairs show entitled New Horizons at the ABC affiliate in Bowling Green. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication, with a minor in Marketing and Masters of Arts Degrees’ in Administrative Dynamics and Communication all from Western Kentucky University. She is also a proud member of Gamma Beta Phi, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.