The teachers and other public school personnel Milwaukee will have their greatest collective increase in over a decade next year, under Agreements unanimously approved by the Milwaukee School Board on Tuesday.
The 4.7% raise for all district staff, matching the rate of inflation, is the maximum amount the MPS staff union, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, has been allowed to negotiate.
“For years many of our employees have been what we all considered underpaid, and we as a council have worked diligently to make that happen and it must continue,” said Marva Herndon, member advice.
Since Act 10 in 2011, teachers’ unions in Wisconsin cannot negotiate increases higher than annual inflation, measured by the State Department of Revenue. Since then, the rate has not exceeded 2.5% up this year and is generally less than 2%.
Amy Mizialko, president of the MTEA, said the directors and members of the Board of MPS have not always agreed to grant increases in line with inflation of previous years. She said she hopes it will help alleviate staff shortages in the district.
“I feel and hope that the administration and the school board can see the school year we have just had with serious staffing problems and look to the future to do their best to come out some of the serious understaffing situations,” she said.
Other districts could follow. The decision of the MPS came earlier than usual this year, ahead of the spring budget process. Some districts have not yet taken a decision, said Christina Brey, spokesperson of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, representing the entire state of teacher unions.
“You can be sure educators are talking with their districts now and saying we’re worth it,” Brey said. “We cannot continue on this path where more and more people are leaving the profession and schools are in turmoil. »
Although unions are not allowed to negotiate increases above inflation, district officials may themselves decide to increase salaries.
In Wauwatosa, district officials propose regular step increases for teachers, increasing their wages by 3% each year they remain in the district to achieve them up to about $ 96,000.
“We have districts that go over, finding ways to retain and attract staff and I think it’s necessary,” said Brey.
Recent national surveys have revealed that teachers feel more burnt out and unhappy with their pay than in previous years.
A survey by the non-profit research center EdWeek in early 2022 found that 26% of teachers said they were paid fairly for their work this year, up from 35% in a comparable survey in 2011.
The typical teacher worked about 54 hours a week, the survey found, with black teachers and teachers in majority-black schools working more.
Morale was down. About 44% of 1,324 teachers surveyed said they were likely to leave the profession in the next two years, with higher rates among female and black teachers, up from 29% in 2011.
“Educators are very conscious of their wages were stagnating and declining over the years,” said Brey. “We’ve talked for over a year about the extreme workload and stress that educators have been under and salary and benefits are certainly part of the equation to strengthen the profession.”