Editorial: Teacher raises elevate us all
Last month, teachers at the Moffat County School District got a pleasant surprise. They got a raise from a starting salary of $32,960 to $37,500. It’s not a lot. But it’s something they’ve needed for a very long time.
The raise came after several years of no additional money for teachers in our rural town. Craig isn’t the only one struggling to pay teachers a salary that will not only attract quality instructors to more rural settings but keep them here long enough to build a life, maybe even a family.
Renee Campbell, publisher
Clay Thorp, reporter
Pete Pleasant, community representative
Desiree Moore, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at editor@CraigDailyPress.com.
The Denver Post reported Colorado is experiencing a serious teacher shortage, which is also a national trend that seems to be getting worse. Some 3,000 new teachers are needed in Colorado classrooms while the number of graduates from programs that train teachers in Colorado has declined by 24.4% over the past few years. Factor in a third of the teachers in Colorado are 55 or older, close to retirement, and we’ve got a real impending crisis on our hands.
The state of Colorado stepped up and recently allocated some $300,000 in extra funding for programs designed to help rural communities like Craig. Moffat County School District Board of Education members have taken notice and are giving the state some credit for allowing them to give Craig teachers a raise.
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“Part of the reason we were able to do that is that the state of Colorado stepped up and funded schools at a higher level than they have in the past,” said Baxter moments before passing the teacher raise at the board’s June 20 meeting.
Jobeth Tupa also lauded their success at passing a teacher raise for Craig teachers.
“I think that’s a pretty remarkable thing we’ve been able to do for our teachers — without raising their health care costs and without doing some other things,” Tupa said.
Members of our school board deserve credit for their decision to give teachers more money. It is our hope the school board doesn’t stop there and continues their propensity for teacher raises to bring our salaries more in line with state averages for teachers in Colorado. The addition of a new generation of teachers seeking Craig’s rural, outdoor lifestyle would be worth the extra cost for teacher salaries.
Good teachers who can relate to our kids can help our children be better lifelong learners. It will make our young adults more valuable in our local workforce when they’re ready to leave the nest for that first job and their own apartment. And it will make them better Americans who go on to inspire the next generation of kids — just as a teacher in rural Craig inspired them.
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