Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Panel acts to dismantle teacher salary schedule

The House Education Committee took a step toward dismantling the state's teacher salary schedule today when it approved House Bill 739 by Rep. Frank Hoffman of West Monroe.

The bill represents a true race to the bottom, as it allows school districts to pit retired teachers against current teachers in a contest to see who will work for the lowest salary.

If the bill becomes law, retired teachers who return to the classroom will not be allowed to enter the system at their former place on the salary ladder. Instead, school boards will "negotiate" their salaries. Testimony revealed that the intent is to pay them the same salary as beginning teachers.

Neither will the returning teachers ever be allowed to earn tenure or advance on the salary schedule - they will be year-to-year employees.

LFT President Steve Monaghan was the only person to present arguments against the bill, and he did it passionately.

"This is a direct affront to the salary schedule," Monaghan said. "Teachers should be paid for the service that they bring to a school."

"There will be unintended consequences to this legislation," he said. "It represents a disincentive for school boards to hire younger teachers if they can get veterans for less money."

The committee gave the bill a favorable recommendation, and then referred it to the House Retirement Committee for further action.

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