Supporting teachers from afar | AspenTimes.com

Supporting teachers from afar

I have been reading with interest the brouhaha at Aspen School District. I retired in 2015 after 20 years with the school district. I was one of those people afraid to make waves while I was there (except that one time I went to Superintendent John Maloy and complained about Principal Art A. going to Wizard School in Florida, possibly on the district's dime. But that's another story.)

Every year we had a retreat with the board regarding concerns we had with the administration. Every year we expressed valid concerns about the superintendent. Every year we were told our concerns were being taken seriously. Every year we were ignored, and Maloy was rewarded with another contract. Year after year.

It was especially interesting to see that after 19 years of service Ginny H. (who was wonderful) was making $111,600 a year. The very next year the district hired a first-year HR director (with a dubious past and a career change) at least $8,400 (7.5 percent) more than Ginny made her last year in the district. Then this year the HR director received a 10 percent raise! May I assume that all the teachers and support staff also received a large increase? Somehow, I doubt it. The most we received (as support staff) in the 20 years I was there was 4 percent.

Every year AEA went to the board and administration to advocate for teachers and support staff in terms of salary increases. Every year the district cried poor and tried to weasel out of decent salaries because of "budgetary constraints." "We will have to cut positions and programs if we give you what you ask for." Talk about extortion! We were given a pat on the back, and a "Thank you for all you do." Any monetary increase we received was given very reluctantly.

I really hope things have improved since I left. I hope that staff can speak freely and comfortably about concerns they have within the district. I hope that teachers and support staff are receiving the very best support from the administration. I hope that the administration has seen the light and realized that the people who work directly with the students are the district's most important asset and, as such, should be treated with the utmost respect. I hope, but I'm not holding my breath.

Lauren Cassatt

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Claremont, California