Missouri Senator aims to eliminate Career Ladder program

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 10:34 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate budget chief wants to eliminate funding for a Missouri program that givers teachers extra pay for taking on extra duties.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Rob Mayer of Dexter wants to get rid of the $37 million Career Ladder program. He said the money could be used to help close a projected $500 million shortfall in next year's budget.

The Career Ladder program began in 1985 and provides teachers with extra pay for things such as after-school tutoring.

Mayer said he believes the committee is near a consensus to eliminate funding.

But some lawmakers are reluctant. Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia said the program is the closest thing Missouri has to merit pay for teachers.


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Amy Elliott April 8, 2010 | 10:58 a.m.

I think eliminating the Career Ladder is not only unwise but unfair. It's extra pay for extra work. Teaching is one of the most strenuous careers there are; teachers work 8 hour days under their contracted hours, but the salary for these hours does not compensate teachers for staying late to help a student who struggles, or supervising children working on a school project (such as yearbook), or for the grading and planning they have to take home. Essentially, we work overtime without being paid overtime. The Career Ladder helps compensate for this deficiency, and, without it, many of us would not be able to afford some of the extra duties we currently volunteer for. For example, I volunteer to monitor detention two days a week for $12, which then goes to pay my babysitter for the extra time she spends with my daughter. If I did not receive the money, I would be working on a negative balance when it came time to paying my sitter. It's easy to say that if teachers have to be paid extra to run a program then the program is not necessary, but that's not necessarily true. After all, children need consequences, and some children need extra help. Additionally, extra curricular activities likes sports, yearbook, and other school clubs, help keep teens away from risky behavior, builds character, and develops skills. These programs cannot be run without an adult sponsor, typically a teacher, and the teacher should not have to work without being paid.

(Report Comment)
tracy Harris April 9, 2010 | 5:15 p.m.

I have been a teacher in the state of Missouri for 14 years. I feel that I have truly enjoyed each and every year. One of the highlights is getting to know my students, participating in clubs afterschool and helping them through various tutoring times after school. I have given up time to be with my family, because my school has become a family as well. When I moved to the district I currently teach at, I was able to start Career Ladder. I have given A LOT of time after school being a Drama Club sponsor, a Yearbook Sponsor, a Media Club Sponsor, and tutoring my students who needed extra help outside of the regular school day. I even do parent visits before the school year starts, talking about 6th grade, taking them the information AND taking a little something to my new students.

I do all this because I love teaching, but also to fulfill my hours outside the class for Career Ladder. Now, there is talk about not be compensated for hours I have already completed because there is NO MONEY! What other profession asks their workers to be paid and then they are not compensated?

I truly don't feel the legislators know exactly what a teacher does on a daily basis. I truly don't believe that legislators know exactly what we do outside the classroom and at home even during the summer because we care about the kids.

I can say that I will not be doing what I have been doing for the past 9 years I have been on Career Ladder and not be paid for it. The ones that will feel the loss are the students!! There will be a mass exodus of teachers willing to do clubs, tutoring or extracurricular activities because of not being paid for the "extras" that we do now.

Do legislators feel our pain? Would they be willing to work 60, 90, 120 hours without being paid for their efforts? I think not!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 10, 2010 | 3:36 a.m.

"I truly don't feel the legislators know exactly what a teacher does on a daily basis."

I truly don't feel the legislators, the United States Congress or the present occupant of the White House know exactly what many people in many occupations do on a daily basis.

(Report Comment)
reggie smith April 13, 2010 | 9:58 p.m.

extremely sad and unfortunate what thousands of kids across missouri will miss out on if funding is cut (after school tutoring, book clubs, after school rewards, movie nights, campouts, etc)...i personally will more than likely need a 2nd job to make ends meet and several students wont get that extra special attention so many of them desperately need. overspending has put us in this your job and make the appropriate cuts. as we say at our school, "do whats best for kids!"

(Report Comment)

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