Teaching for the outcome
To the editor: To say I was a little upset about P.J. Kapfhammer’s comments in last week’s Press about the teachers of Oregon City Schools would be an understatement.
As with any large organization, there may be a couple of people who speak when they shouldn’t (I think you should understand this), but to say that union leadership went in to classrooms and intentionally told lies to students is a bit much.
I personally don’t have a Facebook account but if you are embarrassed to have something repeated that you posted, then I don’t think it should have been posted by you to begin with. If it was something you originally put out there, own it.
Next, in the article, we come to the idea of not being in favor of a school levy because the revenue might go toward teacher’s salaries. Kapfhammer may be a wealthy man without a college degree but I am not.
However, I am very proud to say that my family and I had done without for many years in order to pay for my schooling. I have a bachelor’s degree in communications, a bachelor’s degree in education as well as a master’s degree in special education. I spent countless hours and thousands of dollars to obtain these degrees and I continue to pay for licenses and special trainings that are required for me to do my job as a second grade teacher at Coy Elementary.
Oregon City School teachers have not had a pay raise for many years. However, what we are required to do on a daily basis continues to expand every year.
Last summer, my colleagues and I spent the majority of our summer realigning and organizing our curriculum to best meet the needs of our students – on our own time. Although I cannot speak for the other buildings in our district, I can say that there are very few days that the teachers in our building go home at quitting time. Many of us can be seen there well after 5 or 6 p.m. several days a week.
In addition, because of the lack of planning time that is needed to effectively make our lesson plans according to the new Common Core State Standards, you can visit many of us there on Sunday afternoons for an additional two to three hours (also on our own time).
Then there are the book bags we bring home each night in order to stay caught up on grading or projects. You many think we have the summer off – wrong. Although we may not be in the classroom, I am working, as are many others.
We have bags and boxes of projects that we need to complete in order to start the school year effectively in the fall. In addition, many teachers in our building will be at school Tuesday evenings (on their own time) for a summer math program in order to help students increase their math fact mastery over the summer.
I personally spent more than $2,000 last year out of my own pocket for things needed in my classroom or for supplies that students needed and didn’t have.
Our staff also went Christmas shopping for many children so they would have presents to open on Christmas Day (on our own time with our own money).
Teachers don’t teach for the income – they teach for the outcome.
However, it does get frustrating when we get praised every year at different community events about how wonderful we are as teachers and that the administration is grateful for all we do for our students, yet we are not worthy of a pay increase.
Editor’s note: Under an agreement that went into effect July 1, 2008 and expires June 30, Oregon teachers with bachelor’s degrees receive annual step raises during their first 12 years of working in the district, according to information provided by the treasurer’s office. The increases then are staggered to go in effect the 15th, 17th, 20th, and 24th years. Teachers with master’s degrees or doctorate degrees – or working toward the advanced degrees – receive step increases in each of the 24 years.
For example, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience is paid $34,936 a year. By the fourth year, that teacher is paid $39,810. A teacher with a master’s degree and no experience is paid $38,255. By the fourth year, that teacher is paid $44,281.
Effort nets savings
To the editor: I am writing this letter to acknowledge the effort of many people in our community who helped the Port Clinton City School District refinance the bonds used to build new schools, saving over $1 million for our local taxpayers.
A new bond credit rating and official statement needed to be completed in a short period of time to take advantage of the current market conditions.
Jamie Bier Grant, director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, provided timely information on our industrial parks and employers.
Ottawa County Auditor Larry Hartlaub provided multiple data related to millage rates, assessed values and levies.
Ottawa County Treasurer Robert Hille provided insight into the properties in the district and delinquency data.
Jeff Morgan gave important information on real estate sales, while Larry Fletcher provided tourism statistics over the past several years.
School board members David Belden, Barb Drusbacky, Beth Benko, Michele Mueller and Paul Shaw, and finance committee members Gary Coon and Gary Ohm provided expertise as we navigated through federal sequestration.
Heidi Steyer, high school guidance counselor, provided information regarding students and programs offered. Finally, Superintendent Pat Adkins helped to present the information to Standard & Poors Ratings Services.
The dedicated and timely work of the aforementioned helped the district maintain its AA+ bond rating, which led to a successful refunding of the Build America Funds. This lowered our debt by over $1 million, which will be passed along to our local taxpayers.
Thank you, to all those that made this possible, and especially our community for their continued support of the Port Clinton City School District.
Port Clinton City School Treasurer