By Elizabeth Perry
So far, 19 Sto-Rox teachers have resigned this school year, amid a restructuring that saw teachers being promoted to vice principals, then returning to teaching positions again.
Sto-Rox Superintendent Megan Van Fossan has said the problem of retaining teachers in the district comes down to money. The cash-strapped district is trying to comply with a state-mandated recovery plan. Even though a 4% raise was implemented at the beginning of the school year, teachers at Sto-Rox have dealt with years of wage freezes.
“There are two primary issues. Our neighboring districts, as well as charter schools, pay much more for starting teachers. This makes recruiting difficult. In addition, hard-to-fill vacancies make it difficult to retain staff (special education, aides, high school math and science) because of the pay issues,” Van Fossan said via email.
Paul Sroka, business manager for the Sto-Rox School District, said the pay scale varied from $41,900 to $86,430.
“The average of the entire staff at the beginning of the year was $60,299,” Sroka said.
In the neighboring Carlynton School District, teachers at the bachelor's level start out at roughly the same pay, $41,998, but the average salary for that district is $72,713, according to Keith Bielby, Carlynton’s director of financial affairs and budget.
At the Cornell School District, starting pay for teachers is slightly higher. Starting salaries for the current year are $45,246 for someone possessing a bachelor's degree and $46,746 for someone who has acquired a master's, said Business Manager Patrick Berdine.
The average salary at Cornell is $73,807.
"Retention has been pretty good, we've had a couple retirements, but we haven't had anybody leave for any other reason," Pat Berdine said. On average, there is one retirement per year, and the average years of service at Cornell is 15 years.
"We have a good group here," Berdine said.
In the Montour School District starting pay for a new hire with a bachelor's degree was $50,325 in 2022 according to numbers provided by the district through a Freedom of Information Act request. For a master's degree, the pay was bumped up to $50,575. The district was unable to provide average pay for the district, but a teacher on the 17th pay step who had a bachelor's in education could expect to make $93,075.
Catherine T. Neubert, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School business manager, said via email, it was against policy to disclose any information about the school’s salary or benefits program. As a private institution, they are not legally obligated to disclose the information.
“As a private Catholic school, the faculty pay scales at OLSH are an entirely different scale than that found in public schools. We also offer different incentives and flexible benefits for our teachers that are not possible in the public school arena or as part of union contracts,” Neubert said.