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Volume 70, Issue 147, Thursday, June 16, 2005

Opinion
 

Staff Editorial


EDITORIAL BOARD

                 Matt Dulin                   Sam Khan, Jr.      Tina Marie Macias
                Jason Poland             Dusti Rhodes           Blake Whitaker


Officials get fat while teachers get scraps

Sick of getting passed on the freeway by arrogant public school teachers in their new Mercedes as they sip lattes, talk on their hands-free cell phones and avoid their turn signals like they were infected with SARS?

Yeah, neither are we.

It's common knowledge that teachers' pay is not commensurate with the importance of their jobs. So it seems nice when the state tosses a raise to those making the bare minimum teacher's salary in Texas.

That notion lasts until one learns that various state officials are getting raises that make those of the teachers look insulting.

New teachers making the minimum salary for Texas will get a $670 raise for 2006-07, upping that minimum to $24,910; 20-year veterans will see their pay increase by $1,130 to $41,930. Meanwhile, several high-ranking officials will see raises ranging from $15,000 to $48,000. 

Among others, the attorney general, comptroller, agriculture commissioner, land commissioner and railroad commissioner will all get raises of $32,000, bringing their pay to $125,000. And it warms our hearts to see the director of the Department of Public Safety get a $48,000 raise from the previous salary of $102,000.

Yes, there are many more teachers making the minimum salary (about 8,000 total) than top officials in the state government, but the officials mentioned already make healthy livings. Practically speaking, the cash from the raises would have helped teachers at least a bit; in terms of principle, the whole thing stinks.

School districts, especially poor ones, aren't getting the best possible teachers because the pay isn't competitive enough to attract the most valuable prospects. Ask any small business owner who pays a higher wage than necessary: dealing with extra cost pays off in the form of higher quality employees.

When it comes to education, that's an equation the state can't afford to ignore. It's our hope that voters will help Austin's higher-ups get their priorities in order.
 

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