Three Rivers Elementary School librarian Diane Wilson’s letter to the editor in last week’s edition of The Progress claims to present information that taxpayers need to know. School board meetings are open to the public and anyone that chooses may attend and are welcome.
Three Rivers ISD does employ a teacher’s aide that receives a stipend of $6,000 for coaching. This individual has a base salary of $17,000 and, in addition to teaching, holds practices before school and after school, attends games, drives a school bus, working an additional 500-600 hours per year for this stipend. Stipends are also paid to teachers that coach UIL academics and travel with students to academic events.
The definition of “stipend” is a fixed sum of money paid periodically for services. Mrs. Wilson presented her case to the school board during the time allotted for public comments, but not at a time that would have allowed discussion with the board. Her request was for a stipend and there was no mention of performing additional duties.
In Mrs. Wilson’s letter, she raises concerns in regards to the disparity of her library budget in comparison to the athletic budget. This is like comparing apples and oranges. As of this writing, there are five non-TEA grant opportunities listed on the Texas Education Agency’s website. There is also Federal stimulus money that has been allocated for our libraries.
I do believe that academics come first, but not by sacrificing the athletic experience that many students enjoy. Physical education and athletic programs prepare students for real life situations and encourage them to take leadership roles or to help others to tackle issues confidently and in a spirit of cooperation.
The district has twelve teacher/coaching positions and all coaches teach 7-8 class periods in addition to their coaching responsibilities. Newly hired teachers and coaches compensation is based on years of teaching experience. All teachers employed by our district are considered “highly qualified” by the Texas Education Agency’s guidelines.
Our coaches work with hundreds of children in athletic programs and physical education classes every day. The elementary school librarian only allows two students per classroom in her library at one time unless their teacher accompanies them. Mrs. Curbello is our middle school and high school librarian. She also coaches students on the UIL academic team and sponsors our National Honor Society.
Our superintendent earns $94,000 per year. That is not the highest or the lowest salary for superintendents in our district. Mr. Johanson’s salary is average for an educator with 35 years of experience who oversees a district with over 600 students and manages an $8,000,000 annual budget.
I regret that Mrs. Wilson chose a letter to the editor to bring forth her complaints against our school district. She said she loves her job, but she mentions twice in her letter that she wants justification. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. I think she chose the wrong way to address her concerns. The school board members always welcome input, comments, and concerns from any staff member.
Three Rivers School Board Trustee