The head of the Iowa Association of School Boards is raising concerns that pay for veteran teachers isn’t adequately addressed by the education reform package that passed the House last week. Iowa Association of School Boards executive director Tom Downs says while the bill sets $32,000 as the new minimum salary for first-year teachers, it doesn’t include money to raise all teacher salaries.
“One of my concerns is that there could be some morale issues that come from that,” Downs says, “and districts cannot afford to adjust their entire salary schedules with zero or two percent allowable growth.”
The bill that cleared the House last week would allow school district budgets to grow by two percent, with that extra money being provided by the state. According to Downs, there will be repercussions if there is no “ripple effect” for veteran teachers when the salaries of beginning teachers rise in a district.
“Our concern would be that we would be losing teachers to other districts,” Downs says. “We know that teachers who are in the profession are going to look at improvements and opportunities and when we have different sized districts paying quite different salaries based on their local norms and needs, yeah, boards have concerns about that.”
Downs retired as superintendent of Southeast Polk schools in 2011 and then became the leader of the Iowa Association of School Boards. Downs made his comments this weekend during an appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.