Note: This is a copy of comments by Oak Ridge Education Association Co-President Steve Reddick during a March 30 meeting of the Oak Ridge Board of Education, when teachers and principals requested a 4 percent salary increase in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
2015 OREA Salary and Benefits Proposal
On behalf of the certified teaching staff of the Oak Ridge Schools, OREA is honored to present to you our FY ’16 salary and benefits proposal.
As in years past, we make this proposal with eyes wide open and without illusions:
- We know how perennially tight our school system’s budget situation is.
- We realize that our schools face a multitude of competing, simultaneous needs.
- We understand the challenges faced by the City of Oak Ridge, and the reluctance of certain segments in the city to consider fully funding the school system’s budget request—this year, or any year.
But we also know:
- That Oak Ridge teachers have been required to do “more and more” with “less and fewer” for years now.
- That public education is going through a full-body, game-changing, ever-changing, politicized makeover.
- That local, state, and federal initiatives regarding student achievement, testing, teacher accountability, evaluation present us with a daily swirl of time-consuming, head-spinning, constantly shifting expectations. “Initiative overload,” some call it. Teachers have more colorful and descriptive names for some of them.
- That Oak Ridge teachers work well beyond their contract hours daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, including the summers.
We also realize that that’s about the only way we can survive in this profession. There’s too much on the line to do it any other way.
Above all, Oak Ridge teachers will value the development and achievement of all of our students, and we’re grateful to work in a school system and for a school board that values what we do—and in a community with a high expectations and a proud history of educational achievement. We embrace these mutual expectations and shared goals wholeheartedly.
Our budget request this year is exactly that, a request and not a demand. We simply ask that you recognize our efforts and our ongoing commitment to the mission of the Oak Ridge Schools by funding a modest salary increase for teaching staff.
We realize that this request will be challenging in the current climate, but we make it all the same. Clearly, one key, a foundational key, to the excellence of the Oak Ridge Schools, is our highly qualified, exceptionally dedicated teaching staff.
It’s one thing to be competitive with other school systems. It’s quite another to be a leader. Our goal should be leadership by excellence, leadership by example. Let’s take a step this budget season by granting our teachers a much-deserved, long-overdue salary increase.