Members of Madison teachers union rally for increased staff retention efforts

MADISON, Wis. — Members of the union representing teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District rallied outside the district’s administrative offices Monday evening to call for increased focus on staff retention.

Madison Teachers Inc. is calling on the district to provide a 4.7% cost-of-living increase and “to respect the Employee Handbook process to help recruit and retain educators and education support professionals to adequately staff our schools next year.” The group also wants annual salaries with step increases on teacher contracts, increased substitute pay rates and a $5 increase to the salary schedule for educational assistants and security assistants.

The rally began shortly before the school board started its regular meeting Monday.

In a statement, the district said it agrees staff members deserve more but laid much of the blame on state lawmakers:

“We appreciate and value all of our world-class educators who chose MMSD and the community of Madison as the place to do their great work. We also acknowledge the frustrations amongst staff over there being limited funding for wage increases; a direct result of a regressive state budget. We agree our staff deserves better, and like many districts across the Badger State, our budgetary reality involves a State Legislature which continues to abdicate its responsibility to do the bare minimum for public schools.

“We are grateful for the voices we heard during the MTI staff rally today, and appreciate the respectful discourse they have shown during our collaborative process in building consensus. It is our hope we will be able to come to an agreement which appropriately values staff and keeps students always at the center, while enabling our district to be good fiscal stewards for the taxpayers of Madison.”