In the interest of full disclosure here are some facts from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction that the teachers union and Nicolet School Board are not telling residents:
• Nicolet teachers are the highest paid public school teachers in Wisconsin. Their average salary and benefits for the 2009-2010 school year (latest available) was $103,300 per year. And that was before the School Board recently awarded them a 2 percent annual pay increase retroactive to 2009.
• Nicolet has one of the most ideal teaching environments for teachers in the state. And yet Nicolet teachers were paid significantly more than their counterparts in similar districts, and $17,000 more than teachers in Milwaukee Public Schools, the most difficult teaching environment in Wisconsin.
• The unions argue that Nicolet compensation is the highest in the state because they have more veteran teachers (average of 15.5 years local teaching experience). The fact is there are 57 school districts in Wisconsin that have a higher percentage of veteran teachers than Nicolet but whose teachers are compensated far less.
• Not surprisingly, Nicolet's teacher compensation is the largest expense in the Nicolet budget. Despite this fact, the Nicolet School Board is not even looking at reductions in teacher salaries as a possible cost saving measure. In fact, on March 14 the board actually promised teachers their salaries won't be touched in future contracts.
• The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said Nicolet is one of only four school districts whose state aid will actually increase under the new budget bill. But the School Board still wants residents to pay an additional $2,150,000 in school taxes each year for the next five years. Vote on Tuesday, April 5 or pay the consequences.
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