Edmond Public Schools: a change in teacher salary

With the combined effort of Edmond Public Schools and the state mandated teacher raise, the district was able to grant teachers an increased salary.

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With the combined effort of Edmond Public Schools and the state mandated teacher raise, the district was able to grant teachers an increased salary.

Colt Beat, Memorial Staff Writer

Jumping straight into the 2018-19 school year, teachers in Edmond Public Schools (EPS) were greeted with news of a pay raise on Aug. 13, the first day that teachers reported back to school. This raise was an effect of the accomplishments that occurred before the Oklahoma teacher walkout, (and averaged to be an additional $6,100 raise per teacher).

“Every year EPS negotiates with the Edmond Association of Classroom Teachers, which is the organization that the districts bargains with and come together to talk about issues, concerns and compensation,” said Chief Human Resources Officer, Randy Decker. “An agreement was reached on teacher compensation to raise the salary of first year teachers in Edmond to $40,000.”

With Edmond being one of the highest paying school districts in Oklahoma, this raise does make EPS competitive with other school districts in the state in terms of fulfilling teacher positions.

“As a new teacher, I was really excited to hear about the teacher raise because it really helped my decision to stay in Oklahoma,” said Jacqueline Hirlinger, a first year English teacher. “I thought it was a really good start to improving education for the students and teachers,”

In Oklahoma, the state mandated minimum salary for teacher is $36,601; and EPS pays about $3,399 more than this.

“What EPS did was take all of the money that was allocated by the state pay raise and put that towards the salary raise, which took the starting salary to $39,616,” Decker said. “The district then allocated another $384 per teacher on top of the starting teacher salary to raise it to $40,000.”

Though the pay raise is a step in the right direction, EPS still competes with Oklahoma’s border states, like Texas, where teachers earn around $49,780 annually.

“It is not just about the salary, other factors, like classroom size, have to improve to make certified teachers stay in Oklahoma,” said Lisa Brown, a teacher with 28 years of experience in EPS.

Along with a higher salary, EPS was able to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes. Though this is a great start, smaller class sizes are not present throughout all subjects.

In the end, there is only so much EPS can do when it comes to improving conditions and teacher pay.

“I would like to see pay increase another $5,000 or more, but that would require state help with sources and funding,” Decker said. “If EPS was able to raise the salary to about $45,000 a year, I believe this would spark motivation for students to go into college choosing education as a field of study and then in turn, increase the quality of teachers that we are able to hire.”

Overall, Oklahoma as a state is still struggling with teacher pay and classroom conditions.

“Our voices were heard at the Capitol; however, I don’t think we’re finished,” Hirlinger said. “If we continue to fight for our students and their education, we can create change for them.”

Contact Colt Beat at [email protected]