Wauwatosa Schools Approves 12 Percent Boost To Teacher Salaries
Wauwatosa Schools Approves 12 Percent Boost To Teacher Salaries

Wauwatosa Schools Approves 12 Percent Boost To Teacher Salaries

WAUWATOSA, WI — Teachers across Wauwatosa schools can expect a 12 percent boost in their salaries over the next two years after the district’s board of education approved the increase Tuesday night.

The plan will take around $3.8 million from the district’s available cash fund balance to advance every teacher on the salary system, an executive summary of the proposal said. The raises come after a freeze on salaries between 2019 and 2021. The decision to approve the “significant investment” in teacher salaries came after discussions with the Wauwatosa Educators Association, where administrators were asked to make the district more competitive and increase retention.

Altogether, the approved changes put every teacher up two steps on the salary system while increasing each level by 6 percent. The increases do not take teachers’ length of service into account, though.

Find out what's happening in Wauwatosawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The measure moves Wauwatosa’s starting teacher salary for 2023-2024 to $48,408, the executive summary said.

Superintendent Demond Means addressed the board about the proposal, saying he hopes its passage can “turn a page… …we feel like we are continuously fighting some of the ghosts of administration’s past of how things were not addressed.”

Find out what's happening in Wauwatosawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

“We have staff members who have felt the years of disrespect, the years of the fact that they have never even had the ability to share an opinion with the district in terms of what compensation should look like,” Means said.

Means also addressed the lack of salary increase differences for more senior teachers.

“You need to hear from me, your superintendent, that I agree with you but there are also fiscal realities that we have to live with and the fiscal reality is that if we implemented the plan that’s before you this evening and implemented the years of service variant,” said Means, “we would bring the cash position of our fund balance dangerously close to a 15 percent threshold.”

Just one member of the board, Michael Meier, voted against the measure. Meier said “Our teachers deserve more pay,” but added, “we do not yet know what our enrollment will be in September, which in-part drives our funding, so I’m not ready to vote yes on this with those unknowns.”

Speaking right after Meier, member Liz Heimerl-Rolland supported the measure.

Click Here: louth gaa jerseys

“I think we’re never going to know what the state legislature is going to do, we’re never going to have 100 percent accuracy in our enrollment counts,” said Heimerl-Rolland. “So I think we need to do today what’s needed to keep our highly qualified, highly, I would say overeducated, staff that we have in this district.”

Earlier, Means also expressed doubts about the state legislature gettings needed resources to the district.

“We haven’t seen that now in over a decade, and I’m not confident that’s going to happen anytime soon,” said Means. “School districts who differentiate themselves, they look inward, they do what we’re doing tonight to recognize our educators.”

Board member Jessica Willis commended the proposal but noted there are continued efforts to take.

“As we start to kind of tackle these issues around what our teachers need and supporting them, I think this is a great first step,” said Willis, “but I also think we need to think comprehensively and offer them the professional development and the opportunities that they need to really equip their toolbox with the tools they need to meet the changing needs of our kids.”

“If we’re going to hold our teachers to high expectations, we need to support them adequately. I think this is a step in the right direction, but we need to continue this conversation,” Willis said in the meeting.

With the plan, the district will need to ensure by June 2024 that the state biennial budget for 2025-2027 includes a consumer price index increase to sustain the compensation, according to the executive summary of the proposal.

Here’s what the summary said about the decisions needed down the line:

If the state reneges on its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding to public schools (which includes ensuring that our teachers are compensated in alignment with the consumer price index), then the District will need to consider a salary freeze or seek access of public funds through electoral means. All options must be explored in the spring of 2024 for proper planning purposes.

This proposal is a 2 year plan only. By June 2024, administration will present options to the School Board in preparation for the 2025-2026 school year and beyond as it relates to teacher compensation. The preliminary options that the School Board will need to decide between includes:

A. Patiently await the 2025-2027 biennial budget for direction on cash available for teacher/employee compensation.
B. Decide to seek a 5-year non-recurring operating referendum to fund employee compensation, curriculum refinement and forward facing student support positions.
C. Reduce the District budget by $1.9 million to offset operating expenses to support the compensation plan.
Educator compensation is critical to the academic success of our students. The sustainability of this plan is largely dependent on state education funding to match inflationary expenses.
The proposal finally addresses the ills expressed and experienced by teachers in the District. The proposal demonstrates a commitment to all teachers in the District through making a significant investment in teacher compensation, regardless of the guaranteed duration of said investment

You can read a full executive summary of the proposal to increase Wauwatosa teacher salaries at the district’s website.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.