Liberty Public Schools’ superintendent called it a dilemma. A longtime teacher called it a disappointment.
The issue: Liberty teachers with at least 25 years of experience are now stuck at their current salaries.
At Superintendent Mike Brewer’s recommendation, the Liberty Board of Education approved annual staff compensation changes during a May 21 meeting with a 6-1 vote. The changes included rolling the schedule — meaning a majority of teachers will receive pay increases tied to years on the job and education. However, Brewer and the board did not agree to a request from Team Liberty to give teachers who have reached the top of the salary schedule because of having 25 years or more on the job a $1,000 annual stipend. Team Liberty is a committee that negotiates school district employee pay.
During the meeting, Brewer said his recommendation against the stipend was based largely on the fact that the district’s most veteran teachers are the highest-paid teachers in the area. For the 2012-2013 school year, a Liberty teacher with a master’s degree and at least 25 years of experience will make $70,600.
“To increase cells,” Brewer said, referring to cells on a salary schedule spreadsheet, “that are already No. 1 in the area is something I cannot do.”
He said this situation was a dilemma, one that was predicted in 2006 when veteran teachers received significant bumps in pay. Other area superintendents told Brewer, “You are going to have to pay for it,” Brewer said. During the May 21 meeting, Brewer said, “And we are.”