ERC: PAGE Statement on Educator Compensation
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Posted by: Meg Thornton
As part of its work to revamp Georgia's school funding formula and reform education policy, the Governor's Education Reform Commission (ERC) is considering changes to educator compensation. Recently, commission discussion regarding the future of state funding for educator training and experience (T & E) has generated statewide attention and concern from educators and other stakeholders.
ERC discussion on teacher compensation continues to evolve, and final recommendations regarding teacher compensation and other ERC items are expected in December 2015. PAGE attends ERC meetings and reports on committee discussion and encourages educators to attend and to provide feedback to the ERC.
PAGE'S statement regarding educator compensation and funding for T & E is below. Following that is a letter to PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill from Dr. Susan Andrews, Director of Special Projects for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (OPB). OPB has developed a proposal regarding T & E which Dr. Andrews describes in her letter.
PAGE believes that in order to improve student outcomes, Georgia schools must attract and retain professional educators who are fairly compensated for their experience and preparation. Salary proposals at the state funding level that fail to account for teacher training and experience may create inequities among veteran and new educators. PAGE supports the recruitment of the best and brightest to our profession and supports raising beginning teacher salaries. Redistribution of existing state funding for educator salaries without state budgetary enhancements has the potential to create winners and losers. Education is and must remain a collaborative endeavor. Georgia's experienced teachers have borne the burden of the recession through furloughs and salary reductions and must successfully mentor tomorrow's teachers. Both groups must be adequately compensated.
Under current Georgia law, charter and IE2 districts have the ability to implement alternative compensation systems, should the districts choose. Forcing districts to overhaul educator compensation without ample time, study, and local community input is ill advised. Designing a salary system that is fair and transparent to all stakeholders is a complex undertaking and one which many districts would not choose to tackle. Districts already face difficulty in recruiting staff due to differences in local salary supplements above the state minimum salary schedule. Continuing state funding for educator training and experience is essential to allow lower-wealth districts to attract and retain a qualified workforce. Any educator compensation system which exacerbates the gap in educator salaries between wealthy and poor districts jeopardizes financially-struggling systems' ability to recruit and retain a qualified workforce.
Letter to PAGE From Dr. Susan Andrews, Governor's Office of Planning and Budget