Under new deal, it is the teachers who must learn | ParkRecord.com

Under new deal, it is the teachers who must learn

The Park City School District and its teachers should be commended for agreeing to a salary package that encourages teachers to strive to become better educators.

The agreement, which was ratified with overwhelming support by the Park City Education Association (which represents the teachers) and unanimously approved Tuesday by the Park City Board of Education, gives raises to teachers for tenure and pays them more for having a Master’s Degree. But it also includes incentives for teachers who further their training, rewarding them for achievements such as completing research projects and earning National Board Certification or endorsements in their subjects.

As education enters a period of rapid transformation around the nation to make sure our students are prepared to become contributing members of the 21st century workforce, it is important our teachers also evolve. They must seek the best education and the highest training, and we are proud that many of our teachers in Park City have done so. The community should be pleased the compensation package ensures those who demonstrate that commitment to our students will receive a proper reward.

The package also guarantees our teachers will continue to be among the highest-paid in the state. While it is important for the district to maintain a sustainable budget — and teacher salaries represent a large chunk of that budget — this helps attract the best educators to our community. That is one of the most crucial elements in the district’s ability to deliver a top-flight education. As long as the school district is able to fill its schools with passionate, qualified educators, we do not expect Park City’s designation as a good steward of public education to falter.

It is also important to note the salary negotiations ran smoothly, with both sides reporting the deal as a "win-win." This was in stark contrast to the previous round of talks that ended in 2013. That shows the district values its teachers, while teachers acknowledge the positives of working for a district that gives them the tools they need to succeed.

And in the end, our community is much better for it.