The behavior of the elected school board officials of Jamestown is deeply disappointing, if not short of atrocious.
The teachers of the community have had their compensation frozen for the last four years. Graciously, they accepted this as they recognized that monies were tight at both the local and state levels. In good faith, they believed that they would be made whole when things leveled out financially.
Fast forward to present day, the state is able to provide additional funding that they haven’t been able to in the past couple of years. Gov. Doug Burgum stated, “Teachers are amongst the most important and hardest working in our state. They work every day with our most important resource which is our children, which represent a portion of our population but 100% of our future. It is very important that we keep investing in our teachers.” In the end, each district will choose how to invest the additional funds; however, Burgum urges that it be used to increase the compensation of our teachers. The Jamestown Public School Board decided to take these words as a mere suggestion.
Our school board is proposing to increase the salaries of teachers by less than 1% at the moment (take or give depending on the teacher’s years of service). While on the other hand, central office staff received an increase of about 8% this year. Additionally, taxpayers not only pay for the increases of the school administration, but they also pay for the advanced education to receive those raises. The teachers do not receive any additional compensation to obtain their advanced degrees currently.
The school board will try to tell you this is due to the failed referendum as this is seemingly the rebuttal for most disagreements lately. The teacher’s compensation is not paid from the same fund that the referendum would have increased had it passed; although, predictably, they will try to tie it to this. Isn’t it ironic that we can’t increase the compensation of teachers to keep up with the cost of living but a $9 million football stadium is not a huge ask? They are also OK with purchasing two or three vans valued at about $300,000 as proposed. It appears that the current school board is having difficulty classifying needs versus wants.
Please help our elected board members remember what this community values by either writing to each member or attending the next meeting scheduled at the Jamestown Middle School on June 12 at 5 p.m.