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Proposed Salary Bump In Jordan School District Favors Newer Teachers


New teachers in Salt Lake County’s Jordan School District may be looking at a big jump in salary next year. But that’s not the case for some of their more seasoned colleagues.

The proposed change bumps new teacher salary from $34,000 to $40,000 a year. A significant difference for someone straight out of college.


Vicki Olsen, the president of the teachers’ union in Jordan, says that’s the point. The district needs new teachers. She also hopes college students considering teaching will look at the new salary and say, "Maybe getting into education isn't so bad after all."


Olsen supports this plan which was introduced by the Jordan School Board and comes with $10 million dollars of new spending money. It also does away with a 15-year salary cap and lead to a salary increase for every teacher. But, there's a catch.


The year-to-year raises, or steps, that older teachers rely on won’t be as significant. For some mid-career teachers they’re looking at decreases of over $1,000 yearly.


Olsen understands this can be frustrating.


“You look at a new teacher coming in and they’re getting a significant bump and there are some other teachers who are not getting as much and they’re kind of looking at it and saying, ‘Where’s my big piece of the pie?’” Olsen says.


One of those teachers is Steve Haslam, an English teacher at Copper Hills High School in West Jordan. He has a master's degree along with 10 years in the classroom. This new salary plan has him wondering about the district’s priorities.


“I don’t want to say they don’t value us but it feels like for the veteran teachers that they don’t value us as much," Haslam says.


The Jordan School Board says this is still a work in progress and the final plan won’t be voted on until later this month.


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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