High Quality Teachers = High Quality Education
By Superintendent Rich Hanson
Research shows the number one factor in determining student success in school is highly qualified, skilled, companionate teachers. We are very fortunate to have those types of teachers, support staff, and administrators at Almond-Bancroft. Unfortunately, being able to keep these good people is becoming more and more challenging.
It’s a fact that fewer people are entering the education field; and as a result, school districts throughout Wisconsin (and the nation) are facing teacher shortages. When we had an open teaching position ten years ago, we would receive 100 applications. This past year for several teaching positions, we had only 3-6 applicants.
The tight market is affecting our ability to both hire and retain teachers. Almond-Bancroft has to compete against districts such as Stevens Point, Amherst, and Tri-County, which means we’re also competing against their pay scales.
We have a lot to offer potential teachers: great facilities, a motivated staff, supportive administration, and an involved community—but in today’s economy, salary also matters. In order to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers, we must be able to compensate them appropriately.
Let’s take a closer look: the starting salary at Almond-Bancroft is $34,750. That puts us $5,000 to $6,000 behind most of our nearby districts, and ranks us 10th out of 12 when we compare our base pay to that of other districts in the area. Our compensation continues to fall behind as we add years of experience and lands us 11th out of 12 when we look at the higher end of our pay scale.
Lagging behind in compensation not only impacts our ability to hire great teachers, but it affects our ability to hold on to our staff. We’ve had a fairly significant amount of teacher turnover in recent years. In high school science, alone, we have had 4 different teachers in the past 5 years. Quality science education is key to helping prepare many of our students for future careers. More challenging is how difficult it is to establish and maintain a strong science program without consistency in instruction.
Updating our compensation model so that it is more in line with what other districts offer will help us to attract and retain the teachers we want (and need), so that we can continue to provide the students of Almond-Bancroft with the quality education they deserve.
Being able to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers is just one of the reasons the district is asking our residents to approve a $525,000 referendum for recurring operational expenses on April 3.
We are retiring our 1998 building addition and the 2013 technology referendum at the end of the school year. That means we can provide the needed funds with no school tax rate increase.
If you would like more information about the upcoming vote on Tuesday, April 3, go to our website or Facebook page and click the referendum information button.