Comstock's magazine 1117 - November 2017 - Page 68

n EDUCATION coordinator. In the Elk Grove Unified “They have the money. They prefer the Sacramento County Office of Edu- School District, vacancies in this area to spend it on administrators,” he says. cation, says salaries play a role, but are range between four and 10. The district “The fact that they have to go halfway only one of many factors for determining also set up a dual credential program across the world when other districts if a teacher wants to work in a district. with Sac State this fall after receiving don’t have to says a lot right there.” Other considerations may include a a grant for $400,000 ($80,000 for five Fisher claims teachers in the dis- positive culture in the district, ongoing years) to cover half of the tuition for 20 trict make significantly less than support and professional development, candidates, slated to graduate in 2020. surrounding districts. The association and strong, consistent leadership at Shelly Clark, director of person- is currently in contract negotiations, campuses. Plus, he says, SCUSD already nel development for EGUSD, says and working with Superintendent Jorge offers very generous health benefits. the district didn’t consider recruit- Aguilar to recruit and retain teach- “When you think about total com- ing overseas because California’s ers and “make Sac City a ‘destination pensation, it paints a different picture,” high standards make the transfer a district’ for educators and students,” Gordon says. challenge. Elk Grove is currently re- Fisher says. The SCUSD picture is familiar to cruiting its own substitute teachers Comparing salaries is complicated, Gordon. As a former Elk Grove Uni- and general ed teachers to work on its because earnings vary depending on a fied School District superintendent, he own pipeline program with Sac State’s teacher’s level of education and years of started a program to address the teach- special education program, er shortage. With Sacramento she says. “We found that, County, he helped create an just by looking inward, there intern program, where can- was this real fertile bank didates go through basic that we hadn’t anticipated,” preparation in an intensive Clark says, referring to those and time-consuming five- teachers. month period, before they Avenida has heard all then start earning a salary kinds of criticism from those teaching in classrooms. This convinced her methods block program has placed 47 interns local teachers from getting in SCUSD. Last year, the pro- — David Fisher, president, Sacramento City Teachers Association jobs. But she doesn’t believe gram launched a new special districts need to go through education track, which to date the year with unfilled positions or experience. In the San Juan, Elk Grove and has produced 12 interns, Gordon says. substitute teachers if there are other Sac City unified school districts, special Overall, Gordon is optimistic that options. education teachers and regular education these various strategies will even- “If the local teachers are there and teachers share the same salary schedule. tually pay off, and that SCUSD has they qualify, by all means we should San Juan teachers earn annual sala- found a tried-and-true solution for hire them,” she says. “But if you’re ries from about $46,000 to $86,000. Elk funding special education teachers in about to start school without a teach- Grove teachers earn salaries from about the meantime. er, you haven’t used all the resources $45,000 to around $90,000. SCUSD “It isn’t unusual for a district to go to for getting qualified teachers who can teachers earn salaries from about the Philippines,” he says. “They’re doing teach these classes.” $45,000 to about $81,000. Barrios says the best they can to provide the service most of the teachers are on the higher for students under the circumstances ‘DESTINATION DISTRICT’ end of the salary schedule. But Ed-Da- they’re faced with.” n David Fisher takes no issue with Fili- ta, which tracks information on K-12 pino teachers. schools in California, shows the aver- Russell Nichols is a freelance writer As president of the Sacramento City age teacher salary for SCUSD about who focuses on technology, culture and Teachers Association, he insists he sup- $7,000 less than the average of all uni- mental health. His work has appeared ports them and wants them to succeed. fied school districts throughout the in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston His main problem is with the district, state in 2015-16. Globe, Governing Magazine and specifically its lower wages and work- In response to Fisher’s claims, David Government Technology. On Twitter ing conditions, he says. Gordon, superintendent of schools in @russellnichols. “The fact that they have to go halfway across the world when other districts don’t have to says a lot right there.” 68 | November 2017