Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

Russell Paskoski

It was with much disappointment when I read The Park Record’s own editorial bashing teachers for their greed and excessive entitlements and comparing them to private-sector workers. This after three days earlier your editorial ran a column stating we should target our state legislators who want to cut back state funding for education. The editor’s blatant misstatement that teachers get pay raises every year is simply not true and anyone can find out for themselves on the Park City School District website.

An entry-level teacher has their pay frozen for the first three years followed by five years of increases. These increase start at 4 percent decreasing each year with the fifth year at only a 3.3 percent increase in salary.

After that, their pay is frozen for eight yrs! Imagine the private sector trying to retain employees with a pay schedule like that. Ha! Fat chance. There are pay incentives for teachers who increase their education. My wife is a secondary-school counselor. She makes the same amount of money now as she did 20 years ago while in the private sector (and that was before she had a masters degree required for her present job). Her day does not end when contract hours do. On most nights (and weekends), she continues to work for her students.

I am saying this not to toot my wife’s horn but because in my frustration asking her if this is what most teachers do, she says yes. I am in the private sector and the thought of her real hourly wage drives me crazy. But, she absolutely loves what she does. This is true for most of our school professionals. To think they could not be in the private sector as business people, lawyers, engineers, pilots, or an editor for a small town newspaper, earning larger salaries is crazy. Just as most of us choose our profession because it is what we love to do, so it is with school professionals.

We give teachers the responsibility of preparing our children for their future, showing them the gift of knowledge and more often than not, guiding them towards their adult careers. We should pay them accordingly and continue their benefits. If not, we will lose more quality educators.

The Park Record is right, Park City is not like the rest of Utah. We do believe in protecting the environment, paying for and preserving our open spaces and paying for proper education of our children. If it means higher taxes so be it, let’s raise taxes. We are not some insane Tea Party district obsessed with reducing all government services and cutting taxes. Although it does seem like our school board and superintendant have this mentality.

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This school year, they decided to reduce the Park City School District tax rate by 2 percent while property tax valuations fell by 9 percent. They are the ones who have left us $5 million in the hole, not the teachers.

The teachers do what they do teach. They do not create the budget for the district. It is rather obvious to me who needs to be removed.

Teachers need to stand up for themselves against these attacks. I ask all educators to write a letter to the editor describing their work week. I ask our community to back our teachers and be vocal about it. For my home it would be less than the price of a local ski lift ticket to keep our quality of school education as is. I can gladly handle that increase in taxes.

How about you, speak out.