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Re: salaries

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From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 07 2002 - 05:53:41 PDT


Regarding negotiating a salary,

It is difficult to give advice on this as there are so many varieties of
systems for determining wages. In Minnesota, salaries in public schools are
set up by virtue of lane and step and are pretty much fixed within the
district that you teach. The salary schedules do vary from district to
district based upon the tax formula that provides for how much each area is
able to generate in terms of tax dollars. The state then uses that figure
to determine how much they will pitch in. Needless to say, the areas that
have a more sizable tax revenue structure get a heftier slice of the state
funded pie which boils down into more resources and better salaries. In the
private sector there is more leeway given within individual schools to the
principals in negotiating a contract, but typically the salaries are not as
good as are the ones in the public education arena. In both scenarios, extra
service agreements can be brought into play which affords more income for
more work. There have been a few experiments in pay incentives / raises
based on performance as opposed to step and lane considerations, but there
is a real distrust for such a system by many educators due to the lack of
structure and job security that is opened up in light of that way of
operating (as well as the personal bias that can also play a part).

My guess is that no system is going to be perfect in regards to the pay
scale. On top of the disparity that exists is always the political football
that educational funding has turned into which can upset the proverbial
apple cart at any time.

My suggestion would be to look at what the school that you are considering
working at has to offer in terms of professional growth and fulfillment to
you as an educator, and what their philosophy is regarding the incorporation
and viability of art into the curriculum - often another hot potato at
budget cutting time. Unless the salary is abysmally low and untenable, if
the school seems to be supportive of art education and is dedicated to
creating learning opportunities for students based on areas of interest, I
would strongly consider applying for a position there. No amount of money
ultimately will make a lifetime commitment to teaching workable if you are
working in a situation where what you do is not valued.

Hope that this is of some help.

Kevan

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