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Hudson teacher salaries are competitive

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The news was mostly good when it came to the results of a teacher salary/benefit comparability study presented to the Hudson Board of Education at last week's meeting.

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Deputy Superintendent and Director of Personnel Nancy Sweet said the district continues to attract and hire top candidates for open teaching positions.

The study compared salaries from beginning teachers to those with master's degrees and experience in comparably sized districts in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In the Wisconsin comparison which included 14 districts, the median base salary is $36,059. Base salary in Hudson is $35,580; with a master's degree, the median is $39,432 with Hudson at $38,544; and at the top salary range the median is $69,742 with Hudson at $67,880.

When the comparison is made with Minnesota districts including Stillwater, Bloomington, White Bear Lake, South Washington County and five others, the median base salary is slightly lower than Wisconsin at $35,756 with the master's salary median at $39,897 and the top salary median considerably higher than Wisconsin and Hudson at $75,346.

Sweet did note that, while still small in number, this is the first time in memory that the district has lost more than one teacher because of a higher salary. Those jobs were all in the metro area.

Of the nearly 400 teachers in the Hudson School District, there were 17 resignations at the end of this school year. Four teachers reported leaving Hudson for higher salaries. Sweet noted that, while still small in number, this is the first time in memory that the district has lost more than one teacher because of a higher salary. Other reasons included a family move, career change, health concerns and moves from part-time to full-time positions.

When it comes to benefits, the 23 districts in the study stacked up as follows:

--Hudson pays 87.4 percent of the cost of family health insurance; most districts pay 88 percent. Six districts including Hudson provide a benefit in lieu of insurance. Hudson pays $3,500; the average is $3,900.

--Most districts in the study, including Hudson, pay 100 percent of family dental coverage.

--Hudson teachers are eligible to retire at age 57; the average age among the districts is 56 with a range from 55 to 58. Hudson teachers must have 15 years with the district to be eligible for retirement benefits which is the case for the majority of the districts in the study.

--Nine of the 23 districts including Hudson make a contribution to retirement health benefits and three districts including Hudson contribute to a retiree's dental insurance.

Sweet reported that the data shows that Hudson has a high rate of teacher retention. She noted that only three of the more than 20 teachers eligible to retire at the end of the 2011-12 school year did so. The highest number of retirees over the past five years was last year when 17 teachers retired.

More than 350 people applied for the approximately 30 teaching positions that were available for the upcoming school year. Sweet's report included the most frequent answer when the applicants were asked "why Hudson:"

--the district is known to be innovative with high standards and expectations, high performing teachers and systems that produce results.

--a model mentor program for new teachers, collaborative opportunities and professional development.

--the district's long range strategic plan HSD 2025

--the community supports education and is a good place to live close to the Twin Cities

--the applicant has children in the district and/or friends or relatives who teach here.

The study also included information about the number of teacher contract days -- 192 in Hudson with an average of 189 among the other districts. Hudson, along with the majority of the other districts in the study, has 180 student contact days. That number is required by Wisconsin State statute.

For more information about the study, go to the district's website at http://www.hudson.k12.wi.us.

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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