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Teacher Salaries On The Rise With A District Domino Effect In Salt Lake Co.

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Granite School District has announced an 11.67 percent salary raise for all teachers beginning next school year, making their beginning teacher salary the highest in Salt Lake County.

It’s like a domino effect. First, Jordan District announced a new salary schedule which bumped first year teacher salaries from 33 to $40,000 dollars. Then Canyons District just to the east proposed a similar plan. And now their neighbor to the north, Granite, will be paying new teachers $41,000.

 

"It’s truly a professional level salary schedule," says Susan Zobel, a teacher and president of the teacher's union in Granite.

 

Zobel was part of the negotiations that led to this salary proposal. She says that Jordan and Canyons played a part in spurring their decision. These three large districts cover most of Salt Lake County and compete to fill the same classroom positions left open by a growing teacher shortage.

 

To fund the salary increase the Granite school board is planning to raise local taxes, which Zobel says is always unpopular. But, the district needs to attract young teachers and hang on to their current faculty who have been stretched thin for a long time.

 

“Now they can finally quit sweeping floors at night or whatever second job they had because finally they can make their ends meet," says Zobel.

 

Kathleen Riebe, another teacher in Granite who also sits on the Utah State Board of Education, says that since the announcement district morale has been high.

 

"People really feel validated. People feel so much excitement and it’s changing people’s lives," Riebe says.

 

Unlike Jordan and Canyons, Granite doesn’t plan on altering their salary schedule. Meaning that every teacher will receive the same jump in salary.

 

Riebe sees this nearly 12 percent raise making life a lot more comfortable for her fellow teachers and most likely for school administrators as they head into hiring season.

 

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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