In his letter “Teachers’ pay needs to improve,” published April 4, Rolan Clark correctly pointed out that Frederick County’s starting salaries could be more competitive with other counties, but he may not have realized that charter schools can improve teacher salaries. Last year, when Gov. Larry Hogan proposed providing charter schools with full funding instead of the 68 percent of full funding they currently receive, the Frederick Classical Charter School proposed an immediate 10 percent across-the-board increase in staff salaries.
In addition, the school proposed 100 percent paid health and dental insurance at no cost to employees, 100 percent paid professional liability insurance that doubles employees’ current coverage, increases in the tuition reimbursement rates (including the cost of books), a more flexible schedule, an option for both the existing pension program and a portable plan, and more. If the governor’s bill had passed, employees at the charter school would have received one of the largest, if not the largest, compensation increases ever offered to Maryland teachers.
Unfortunately, the teachers union opposed giving Maryland’s teachers the flexibility that is normal for the vast majority of charter schools in our country. Because charter schools have the freedom to innovate, they can keep class sizes low and increase compensation at the same time. But in Maryland it is illegal for charters to do so, since they are not permitted to have their own employees or have any control over how the school operates.
Changing Maryland’s charter school law to bring it into the mainstream will enable charter schools to lead the way in increasing teacher compensation. If opponents of school choice would stop fighting those who start charter schools and allow them to actually operate the schools they started, Maryland teachers would benefit.
Point of Rocks