Letter: Teacher economics
In response to Chris McGovern’s letter to the editor Sept. 27, I feel there are a number of inaccuracies and points that need to be addressed and corrected. Ms. McGovern stated that there is no need for affordable houses for teachers based on the district’s salary. She started out by lumping all teachers into a two-income household. A large number of teachers have only one income, which brings the salary down to $43,991 for a teacher with a master’s degree. Second, that is not plus benefits, it is minus benefits. After benefits, PARA and taxes are taken out, what is left is $32,400 for 10 months of work, which is a monthly income of $2,700. Taking out $1,500 per month for a rental unit comprises over 50 percent of a teacher’s income.
Second, Ms. McGovern stated that teachers only work 175 days per year, leaving 190 days to build a commune or start a second business. After counting the district calendar for days teachers are required to be working, the number is 194 contracted days (including required trainings). Then counting weekends approximately 106 days per year (which I might add teachers use 70 percent of them for planning and prepping for their job) that only leaves 65 days including holidays to meet their continuing educational/training requirements and build Ms. McGovern’s commune.
Now let’s address some aspects of being a teacher. To keep licensure to work, they must continue their education at their own expense, as well as stock their classrooms with supplies and resources purchased with their own money. On top of that, a large number of teachers hold student loans. Ms. McGovern was correct that they can apply for $5,000 in loan forgiveness, but she failed to mention that is after five years of work in a school classified as high needs. For a profession that requires high levels of continued education, the pay is very low. Couple that with a high cost of rent, gas and food, and it proves very hard to keep and retain good teachers in the Roaring Fork Valley.
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