I READ THE FOLLOWING SPEECH AT THE JANUARY 13, 2014 TCAPS BOARD MEETING. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE A PART OF THIS SUPPORT FOR OUR AMAZING TEACHERS, PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION.
I WILL BE DELIVERING IT TO THE TCAPS BOARD AND ADMINISTRATION SOON.
THANK YOU!! KIM SMITH

I am here representing a large group in the community (of which I will be dropping signatures off soon) who want you to know we support our teachers. We are in support of Traverse City Area Public Schools and feel the biggest asset of this education system is our teaching staff. We want to see the board and the administration reflect this with a fair contract.

To say that we are concerned about the morale of our teachers is a grave understatement. Not only are they teachers but they are mentors with tremendous influence. The value in that alone is immeasurable. To hear that our teachers are earning 10-15% less than they earned in 2008 is incredibly discouraging. Our children have the most wonderful opportunity to be in these teachers’ classrooms and the teachers have a profound impact on their lives and outlook on education. How these teachers keep a smile on their face every day is beyond us. To have such demands as more students, fewer aids, less pay, a feeling of responsibility over the community’s vote towards proposals, and subjective evaluation systems determining their salaries makes it impossible to comprehend how teachers continue to give all that they do.

We understand there are governmental guidelines and constraints financially. Budgeting all of this must be a monumental task. However, we feel cuts cannot be made towards teachers – especially when we hear that administrative salaries have gone up 6-8% each year. We certainly are not saying that administrators don’t deserve this. However, it doesn’t sit well when we hear of our teachers’ income and contract status. We understand that buildings need improvements – dire improvements and it sickens us that the bond did not pass. However, buildings are not the only thing that will be deteriorating if we continue down this path. If we lose valuable teachers because they do not feel supported, the education of our children will deteriorate as well.

To hear of all the new programs you are exploring for TCAPS is exciting. However, when we hear that hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on these programs while our teachers – the heart of the entire system – still do not have a contract is mind-boggling. These programs and most importantly, our children, will not thrive and flourish without the strength of supported teachers.

We are asking you to please hear and consider our concerns. We are very worried about the future of our education system. Just this morning as my family was getting ready for the day, my third-grader had a case of the Mondays about going to school. As might be typical of a 9-year-old, he griped “school isn’t good for anyone!” At that moment, my kindergartner piped up and proclaimed, “yes it is! It’s good for teachers!” As a mom, it was a very proud moment. As a member of this community, his statement fed my fear that this system isn’t making it good for teachers. We hope you will make it better.

Thank you.

Kimberly Smith

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