by Kimberly Crossland, Owner of Savvy Copywriters
The Vail Unified School District (VUSD) teachers are about to see a 6.7% jump in their paychecks, which is the highest compensation increase to be given to teachers, in at least the last 30 years, if not longer. The increase comes at a time when the school district needs it the most. Arizona is the worst paying state in the nation for teachers. We rank 48th in the country for salaries with a median pay of $42,730 in Arizona, and $39,420 in Tucson, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, May 2016.
“Vail teachers are one of the cornerstones to providing a successful education for our children. This historic and much-needed raise will help to boost our teacher’s morale and show them that our community really loves and values them as partners in our children’s education. We must give our teachers and staff the respect they deserve, and this is just one way to do that,” says Stacy Winstryg from the Vail Parent Network. The Superintendent of the Vail Unified School District added, “The compensation increase for teachers in Vail is somewhat like the guy who needs a set of new tires for his car. He gathers all his money together and is able to guy one new tire. It is a step in the right direction, but he still needs three more tires. The compensation increase for teachers is also a step in the right direction, but does not provide teachers with a livable wage.”
The 6.7% increase in teacher’s salaries will come from a variety of sources. These include the Instruction Improvement increase, Results Based Funding payment, State Funded Teacher payment, Performance Evaluation Payment increase, and the recently passed override.
Because the compensation increase will come from a variety of sources, it will be not be paid out in one lump sum. Some of the increase is permanent and can start immediately. Some of it will be paid out at the end of the year, and some are one-time monies that will be paid at a specific point in time. The sources themselves are also noteworthy. Although some of the funding sources are permanent, several are not. For example, the Results Based Funding was awarded because VUSD students performed in the top 10% in the state. If performance decreases, which is not anticipated, the district could lose that funding and teachers could see a slight pay cut in the future. Regardless, administrators at the VUSD are encouraged.
“This is the largest increase in teacher compensation that I’ve seen in my 30 years here. The Vail Governing Board identified and responded to the need to address teacher compensation. With funds gathered from “here and there,” it is important to remember the largest portion comes from the 2.5% increase local voters approved with the successful override election last November. We are deeply grateful for the Vail Community’s financial support of our outstanding teachers,” said Baker.