Menomonee Falls — The Menomonee Falls School District has the 14th highest salary average for teachers in the state of Wisconsin, according to new data released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
In 2012-13, the average teacher's salary in the Menomonee Falls School District was $62,269. The Nicolet Unified High School District had the highest average teacher's salary in the state for the same year at $73,748. The Germantown School District landed 95th for highest average salary, out of the 445 school districts and charter schools throughout Wisconsin that were measured. The average teacher salary in Germantown was $54,496.
The highest teacher salary in Menomonee Falls in 2012-13 was $76,289, according to DPI. The highest paid teacher in Germantown makes $74,024. The DPI data also shows the lowest salaries at individual school districts, however, this takes into account any teachers who have contracts requiring them to work more than 159 days. This means part-time teachers are included in the measurement.
The Menomonee Falls School District is market competitive when it comes to current teacher compensation, but can it stay that way?
Menomonee Falls Superintendent Patricia Greco said the School District leadership team and School Board are currently looking at the benchmarks within their salary bands to ensure the district stays competitive. The mid-portion of the salary bands is a little higher than the mid-point benchmarks, Greco said, which they are reviewing as they begin to develop a new compensation model. The current model in Falls is not seniority driven, rather it is is performance and skill driven, Greco said.
As school districts across the state work to develop new models, they are also now in direct competition for hiring and retaining teachers.
Menomonee Falls is considered property rich as it has the third highest industrial property valuation in the state. Because how the School District sits in the funding formula, a portion of its property taxes support schools that are not considered affluent.
As a result, Falls is losing funding which is not the case in some surrounding school districts. In 2013-14, the School District had to trim $2 million from its budget as the revenue limit fails to keep pace with inflation.
The district is also losing 15 percent in general state aid for the 2013-14 school year. This 15 percent loss in general aid directly resulted in a 2.2 percent increase in the school district's tax levy, according to the 2013-14 preliminary budget that was approved last week. Even though taxes are going up, the School District continues to face cuts.
In light of budgetary constraints, the School Board wants to ensure it continues to be market competitive.
"We want to make sure we have the strongest teachers and we don't want to lose in compensation battles," School Board President Faith VanderHorst said.
In addition, the School Board needs to keep in mind high demand, hard-to-fill positions, such as technology education positions that have a small candidate pool. Right now the district is positioned well, VanderHorst said, and has attracted strong educators. Keeping it that way will be a discussion moving forward.
"Right now, we are positioned well, but if the state continues to take away from us, it puts additional strain on other parts of our programming because we want to make sure the teachers are compensated correctly," she said. "I think overall we are in a good spot."
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