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Tele-Talk Responses: Beyond paying higher salaries what else can the high school do to attract and retain quality teachers?

There were 24 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: “Beyond paying higher salaries what else can the high school do to attract and retain quality teachers?”
Stop being so negative toward our teachers. Give them some praise. They are with the kids probably more waking hours than the parents and deal with many more issues I’m sure than just teaching a subject. I’m so tired of people saying teachers have it easy — in at 7:30 a.m. and out at 2:30 p.m. Wrong. When do you think they plan the next day’s lessons or plan tests or correct papers or tests? After school hours or in the evenings or on weekends when they would love to be playing with their children. So please stop the negativity comments and give some positive ones for our teachers. They are good and they work hard for our children. I’m a grandparent of a student calling from Center Conway.
I feel that teachers are grossly underpaid. Getting an education these days is very expensive, not to mention the commitment and dedication, and obstacles that teachers have to overcome. The salary that’s currently being paid in Conway are ridiculous. Quite frankly they’ve got to smell the roses, the citizens that live in that town and give these teachers the pay that they deserve.
The answer to the question is shut down one elementary school. And then you’ll be able to reduce staff by a little and you’ll be able to pay existing teachers more — have quality teachers who can actually get the job done. And have the school board members actually go into the elementary schools that they represent instead of being seven people who just think about high school.
Teachers are well compensated in pay and benefits in this town by many taxpayers who aren’t paid as well and don’t have benefits themselves. If a teacher isn’t satisfied with his pay and benefits package, let them move on. We have a surplus of talented college grads in the valley, working as waiters and bartenders who would love to teach and would do a great job.
Sorry to say, it’s all about money. My solution would be to dismiss all teacher aides in the high school, junior high and grade schools. This would be about 70 to 80 aides, and save $3 million, counting pay and other benefits, a year. Use this $3 million to increase all teachers’ pay by about $20,000. This would attract the best and brightest to our area. Also, as far as learning, it is about time on task. In the 1940s and 50s, the school day, all day, every class was a learning class. At the very end of the day one class was used to do homework, holiday parties, speakers or for special events. During my elementary school years, there was one class trip, which only the top five in my fifth grade class, by earning merits for doing good work, got to go on. I’ll never forget it. We left the Adirondack Mountains, crossed Lake Champlain, climbed a fire tower in the Green Mountains and looked back on the Adirondack Mountains. So, I’m for time on task in educating children.
The quality of local schools depends on everyone in our community, our state and our nation. When leaders in our state legislature vote to spend $2,000 more per student in charter schools than they do in public schools they are disrespecting public schools. When these same leaders decrease state aid to our university system, which is already at the bottom for state support, they show no respect for higher education. To attract and retain quality teachers it would help to enhance our local culture. If parents don’t have a positive attitude about schools and teachers, what would you expect from their children. Everyone can mentor and volunteer, meaning everyone can help our children with a kind word or deed. My parents would never have tolerated my being tardy, even one day. My respect for education was required. Don Trimble, Conway.
That’s very easy to answer. You need to get rid of the principal, Neal Moylan. You cannot put somebody in charge of Kennett High School that was in charge of Eagle Academy. He doesn’t have the knowledge and he doesn’t know how to deal with the people or the students. It’s time for him to go and then maybe we can retain some top quality teachers.
Tell these potential new teachers that the taxpayers say almost nothing to the school board to the town fathers for almost any monetary increases. They always say yes. They are easily pushed around by the NEA. Also, North of town is a large Franco-American community. And also to the west is a large Bhutanese-Nepalese community in Laconia. That could offer some interest to the hirees. To the south, of course in Manchester, is a large African community.  Also locally there is a large communist/Marxist community, as evidenced by the several columnists in The Conway Daily Sun and by the frequent letter writers. Also it could be noted that we are just about 60 miles from the San Francisco of Maine, a town called Portland. Also a possibility would be to maybe offer a gift card to the Dollar Tree or a free used vehicle from the former Auto Warehouse. Keep in mind that besides dollars and cents there are other things that appeal to people.
Why don’t you advertise your jobs for teachers in metropolitan areas? There’s lots of young couples that would love to come here, get that salary and raise their kids in a beautiful community. What is the board of ed doing, not advertising so they can double the salary and give that higher salary to their friends who are teachers here? Come on, you’ll get the best teachers. Advertise. Boston, Philadelphia, New York. ... We know the games the board of ed plays. What do you have children who just graduated, waiting for the salary to double and then they’ll apply? You’re not fooling us, we’re not stupid taxpayers. We’re watching you.
A better question might be “Why can’t the town of Conway pay teachers a competitive wage?” I am a public high school teacher of mathematics and science in a state south of New Hampshire. Our starting teacher salary is $40,000 with a bachelors; and tops out at $75,000 with a masters (and 17 years experience.) Per pupil spending of about $15,000 is on par in both towns. I own a second home in Conway and have spent summers here for over 20 years. I have considered moving to Conway and teaching here on multiple occasions but the pay cut involved has been consistently un-thinkable. What is the root cause for this obvious disparity with other districts? Frank in Center Conway.
So does this mean that the teachers we have are the bottom of the barrel, who know they can’t find a job elsewhere? Sometimes, and especially among the more vocal, but many of them simply have a visceral connection to the community, and know what it can afford. Those who don’t are welcome to go elsewhere. In fact, we may be better off without mercenaries.
Let the town’s compensation expert and resident economist, Mark Hounsell, attack this issue. His “solution” is simple. Just keep throwing money at the problem until it is solved. Of course, neighboring school districts will just stand idly by and allow this to happen. Like heck they will. Hasn’t this buffoon ever heard of salary compression?  This is an issue that must be approached in a long-range and thoughtful manner. Hounsell’s emotionally charged  suggestion might feel good at first blush (and shame on the school board for buying into it), but once it is thought through, it is simply a way to increase the entire level of compensation — not just Conway’s. In the end, the same problem will exist. Same is true for a superintendent. Pay one the highest salary in the state and soon, Hanover, Exeter, or wherever will be matching and exceeding it. And while we are on this subject, why not promote Kevin Richards and solve the entire problem or is that too risky and complicated for this challenged board. Utterly nauseated, Conway Village.
The following responses were posted on Facebook:
The town of Conway has a reputation that it hates the school, the teachers and anyone else that costs them tax money. There is a long history of toxic animosity and vitriolic attacks splashed all over the letters pages of this paper. Who in their right mind would want to take a job under those conditions if it was not for the money? The only other reason I could see someone taking the job for the low amount of money the taxpayers want to pay is if they have no hope of getting hired anywhere else. But, I don’t live in the district, so what do I know.
If you want to retain good teachers you have to compete with the other school districts. Bottom line you need to raise the starting pay and step increases.
If you compare any salaried position in the valley to those being paid in the southern part of the state you would see the same trend applies, not just to teachers. The valley falls in the lowest ranked county of the state in terms of annual income. This situation makes it unlikely that the tax base can support paying these high salaries of other communities.
Maybe we could use the current tax dollars better to reach the same goal. The state average student-teacher ratio is 12-1, however our Conway average is 11-2. If we removed these 11 extra teachers and achieved the state average that would free up nearly $750,000 in salary and benefits. If this were reallocated among remaining teachers the average salary would increase by over $5,000 per year. All without increasing the tax burden on our citizens. If we could trim some administration the increase could be larger. There is a very large budget for the school systems, if they could be more efficient they would see they could do all the want (they think need) and more.
You can try to dress it up all you want and attempt to find other things to attract and retain highly qualified teachers, but the harsh reality is that our teachers are severely underpaid. The average teacher salary for 2013-14 in Conway was $42,395. The state average was $54,712. We have to compete with these districts: Governor Wentworth $58,635, Tamworth $56,397, Berlin $58,255, Bartlett $60,000. Why would you work for the Conway School District, when you could get a job within a reasonable driving distance, still live in the area, yet make $12,000-$17,000 more per year? That’s the reality we are dealing with and that’s the reason for the extremely high turnover rate. The salaries statewide can be found here: http://www.education.nh.gov/data/staffing.htm .
Get a sales tax, stop the state getting all the monies from liquor sales, let supermarkets sell it ... put the money back into towns. Where’s all the lottery money going? Wonder how much the director salary is? I don’t dare too look. Do You? Carroll county is poor nobody wants to pay high wages. When I went to Kennett our teachers worked hard for little pay, because they loved what they were doing. My favorite teacher worked two jobs after school, pumping gas, and on the week-ends he would deliver milk for Abbotts Dairy. Today everything is money, 99 percent of graduates move away from the area. They cut the rope that has no hope.
Average salaries can be misleading. If a school district has more veteran teachers, this brings the average salary up. It doesn’t necessarily mean the school district pays exceptionally well. For example, Bartlett has a higher average salary than Conway because many of the teachers in Bartlett have been there 20-plus years. Conway, however, has a higher starting teacher salary than Bartlett. Both are near the bottom in the state for minimum salaries. One key component to retaining teachers is creating a positive and supportive school community that encourages educators to stay for many years. This is certainly the case in Bartlett.
Perhaps if the valley wasn’t so intent on welcoming corporations and their low paying jobs we would have more money towards education and it would entice the youth to stay. There are plenty of Kennett grads living in the area. Many leave because of the better opportunities and more youth elsewhere. The valley focuses on the bargain hunting folk who come up and choke our roads and rivers with themselves and their trash. Then they go tax-free shopping at Walmart and Settlers’ Green.... What do those organization pay in taxes? Free housing/food? Or maybe pay higher salaries.
The school should look into all the grants they can get, they do take time but in the end it could be worth it. The principal should do research on other public schools that have had this problem and what they have done to correct it. Maybe they could change something about Kennett that makes their school stand out from the rest that would attract more teachers that would be willing to be paid less. If all else fails maybe they could get a reality TV show.
Money talks. I’ll do it for $40,000. Call me. Crystal.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 02:00

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TELE-TALK: Beyond paying higher salaries what else can the high school do to attract and retain quality teachers?

Kennett High principal Neal Moylan is frustrated he is losing teachers to school systems that offer higher salaries. "We had a very strong candidate with a master plus 10 years (experience)," Moylan recently told the Conway School Board. "I was able to offer her in the $39,000-$40,000, but I lost her to districts down state willing to pay $51,000 and another $65,000. I can't compete. I just lost someone to Tamworth who paid $17,000 more than we were offering." And just this week, varsity football coach and math teach Mike Holderman left for a better position in South Carolina.

This week's Tele-Talk: Beyond paying higher salaries what else can the high school do to attract and retain quality teachers?

Call 733-5822 Saturday and Sunday and leave your comments on our machine. You may fax your responses to 356-8360 or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Comments can also be posted on The Conway Daily Sun's Facebook page. Results will be published Tuesday.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 25 July 2014 01:00

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Tele-Talk: How should schools handle tardiness?

There were almost 13,000 student tardies at Kennett High this past school year. In response, the Conway School Board voted 5-2 to add guidelines and penalties to the student handbook. Only two unexcused tardies per quarter will be allowed, and one excused tardy for family emergencies. Excessive tardiness will result in penalties ranging from lunch detention to in-school suspension. "We need to get our kids ready to walk out into the real world," said board member Michelle Capozzoli. "Mom's not going to be able to write a note when they're late for work." But board members Syndi White and Joe Lentini voted against the changes. "To me it really takes away parent rights," White said. "I think a parent knows best; you're taking too much away from the parents." Lentini was concerned about students who come from "unstable" home environments. "They're worrying about where they can get a good night's sleep," Lentini said. "I don't want any more heaped on their plates."

This week's Tele-Talk: How should schools handle tardiness?

Call 733-5822 Saturday and Sunday and leave your comments on our machine. You may fax your responses to 356-8360 or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Comments can also be posted on The Conway Daily Sun's Facebook page. Results will be published Tuesday.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 00:35

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TELE-TALK: Would you support the ban of fireworks in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire State Fire Marshal William Degnan is calling for a ban on all "reloadable mortar-style" fireworks, and, eventually, a ban on all consumer fireworks in the state. "It is an absolutely serious problem," said Degnan. "These devices require an untrained person to make a decision about how to shoot these off; where they have to load it, stabilize it and then make sure they're far enough away from it. That type of human intervention makes situations more prone to injury." The proposed ban would not pertain to official fireworks displays put on by trained professionals.

This week's Tele-Talk: Would you support the ban on fireworks in New Hampshire?

Call 733-5822 Saturday and Sunday and leave your comments on our machine. You may fax your responses to 356-8360 or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Comments can also be posted on The Conway Daily Sun's Facebook page. Results will be published Tuesday.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 01:59

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Week in Review — July 4-11 2014

Saturday, July 5
• Along with the fireworks, summer blasts off this Fourth of July weekend, as schools are out, the attractions are all open, and summer is in all its hot splendor here in North Conway and throughout the rest of Mount Washington Valley and the White Mountains.
• A 9-year-old girl was injured on a Freefall Airbag attraction at Attitash Mountain Resort on Thursday afternoon.
• A retirement party to be held for longtime Conway police lieutenant Chris Perley originally scheduled aboard the M/S Mount Washington on Lake Winnipesaukee has been moved to Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Company on Sunday, July 20.

Tuesday, July 8
• Cameron C. Henry, 20, of Fryeburg, was arrested following a foot chase early Monday morning for allegedly burglarizing Jockey Cap Store on Bridgton Road in Fryeburg.
• It may have rained, even poured for awhile, but Mother Nature didn't put a damper on the town's annual Fourth of July Celebration. Despite the rain, the parade, entertainment, including the first chili dog eating contest to benefit the Wounded Warriors, and even fireworks went off as planned albeit with a few thousand fewer people in Schouler Park.
• The race for the Carroll County Attorney's office will be a repeat of 2010's match up. Republican candidate Tom Dewhurst is hoping to unseat Democrat Robin Gordon again.
• Police are investigating if there is any connection between the 20-year-old suspect in the Jockey Cap Country Store burglary and a rash of car break-ins over the weekend. The burglary suspect was caught after he allegedly locked himself out of his own home and was twice pepper sprayed by a police officer.
• The "cat and mouse game" between illegal immigrants and the U.S. border patrol was described at a recent talk at Conway Public Library by Robert Casimiro, of Bridgton, who has been to the U.S.-Mexico border six times since 2005.
• Lawrence Coats, 18, whose address is listed as Carroll County Jail, accused of swinging a machete at a woman and threatening to kill her has been indicted on two class-B felonies.
• Of the 125 lucky winners in the state's 27th annual moose hunt lottery drawing, eight are local — Justin S. Brooks, of Freedom; William C. Brown, of Tamworth; Brandon R. Croteau S., of Berlin; Kyle J. Guay, of Berlin, Matthew T. Liebenow, of Center Conway; Warren A. Lundin, of North Conway; Leisa M. Newbegin, of Center Ossipee; and Theresa L. Shackford, of Madison; and Raymond A. Tremblay. of Berlin.

Wednesday, July 9
• Adam Martinese, of Adam and Amy's Barber Shop on Seavey Street, is hoping two giant feather flags will draw customers to his business, but all he really wants is to be able to have a barber pole.
• Critics of the water district trustees are pleased that all four trustees are resigning in November. The trustee's chairman says it's time for others to step up.
• Jeff Locke, a 2006 Kennett High graduate, was once again sharp and for the seventh straight outing lowered his ERA as he pitched eight innings of three-hit ball to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Sunday.
• Kennett High principal Neal Moylan hopes students will pick up a good book this summer. The school is encouraging students and staff to read through a summer reading program and has come up with several recommended books.

Thursday, July 10
• Cameron C. Henry, 20, of Fryeburg, the suspect in a burglary at the Jockey Cap Store has also been charged in connection with a series of car break-ins in Fryeburg last weekend.
• The governor and Conway selectmen are asking the Obama administration to reconsider the decision to deny federal disaster relief funding for replacement of an East Conway culvert that collapsed because of April's heavy rains.
• The former Fandangle's site is up for a third extension of the conditional approval developers originally received from the Conway Planning Board in September 2012.
• Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth has never held elective office, but he hopes to change all of that come November when the Maine independent candidate for governor squares off against outspoken Republican incumbent Paul LePage and six-term Democratic second district congressman Mike Michaud.
• Ruth Francis Brennan, 77, of South Portland, Maine was found alive in the woods of Waterford yesterday morning.
• A bill to require insurance companies to pay for stem cell testing has been passed in the State of Maine thanks to the efforts of Ellen Guilford of Lisbon, Maine Rep. Helen Rankin (D) of Hiram, Mark Walker (R) of Hallowell and Blanche Sanborn of Fryeburg.
• A baby raccoon will be getting a new lease on life. It will be sent to a raccoon rehabilitation center in Twin Mountain.
• Forty Kennett High seniors and juniors were recently inducted into the prestigious Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Friday, July 11
• Matthew Liebenow is now one of three finalists in the running to be named New Hampshire Teacher of the Year for 2015.
• Steve Woodcock drove 1,174 miles in two days on his planned trek to raise money and awareness for the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.
• Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein will spend the day in town Friday and hopes to meet with as many Granite Staters as possible.
• Several members of the Kennett High Class of 2014 received special recognition from principal Neal Moylan at graduation last month.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 22:27

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