Teachers personify reasons for passing bond
Teachers Sacha and Michael Logan decided to live and work in Carbondale in part so they could devote their best to their jobs in the public schools.Fifth-grade teacher Sacha spends time after school at Carbondale Elementary working in the Project Star academic program. Sixth-grade teacher Michael is a student council sponsor at Carbondale Middle School and volunteers with an after-school eighth-grade jazz group.But they also have a midvalley home mortgage, master’s degree tuition payments and a baby on the way in June.That means the Logans are two of hundreds of staff members and teachers across the Roaring Fork School District who are grateful for the voters who approved a mill levy override for salary improvements. “It’s huge that parents think that our job is valuable and that they believe in us,” Sacha Logan said. “That’s an amazing pat on the back.”The Logans say, so far, it has been “tricky financially” to own a home in Carbondale and pay for tuition for Michael’s master’s degree in middle school math education.”The mill levy makes it less of a burden to live in Carbondale and teach in Carbondale,” Michael said. “That’s why we can stick around because we are competitive with other districts like Aspen and Boulder Valley now. Practically speaking, the mill levy makes it easier for us to raise a family.”The goal of the across-the-board raise for all workers in the district (except the top three administrators who abstained) is to hire quality instructors and keep excellent teachers in the valley. Mike Wilde, a teacher at Glenwood Springs High for 24 years and president of the local professional organization that advocates for teachers, said the new salary schedule is “very beneficial” and “moved us even closer to our goal of attracting and retaining quality teachers.”The district was able to infuse $1.2 million into its salary schedule, Wilde said, making it more than competitive top to bottom with similar districts in the state.From October through January, representatives from the school board and district administration sat down in multiple meetings with employee representatives. Through this interest-based bargaining process, the district worked together to create an updated and positive salary plan.Starting with February paychecks, and retroactive to September 2004, district staff will receive an average 7.4 percent raise. The increase boosts the base salary for beginning teachers with no prior experience by more than $2,500, from a starting salary of $30,625 last school year to $33,200. Teachers with a master’s degree or more experience will receive a salary increase of $3,000 or more.Logan said he loves his profession, but he also said it is nice to be recognized financially for a job that shapes the intellects of youth. He also is in the professional minority as a male primary school teacher.”The passing of the mill levy means that our community recognizes the value of education,” he said. “This means a lot to me.”Suzie Romig is the RFSD’s public information officer.
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