Democratic lawmaker wants to tie legislative pay to teacher salaries

Rep. Robb Kahl

Rep. Robb Kahl

A Democratic lawmaker from Monona is working on a bill that would freeze the pay of legislators until the average pay of a first-year, full-time teacher in Wisconsin becomes equal to legislators’ pay.

Currently, legislators are paid $50,950 per year, while a first-year, full-time teacher is paid a statewide average of $33,546. Rep. Robb Kahl, a Democrat from Monona, is working with Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) on the bill.

Kahl is quoted in his local newspaper, the Herald-Independent, as saying that, under the bill, once pay levels are equal, any increase in legislator pay could only be less than or equal to the percentage increase seen in the average pay for first-year, full-time teachers in Wisconsin – ensuring that the disparity we now have in pay does not repeat itself in the future.

“Other than parents, the adults who have the greatest influence on children are teachers,” Kahl said. “Yet, an individual who makes a significant financial investment to obtain the knowledge and expertise necessary to be an excellent teacher enters a career that pays nowhere near the amount necessary to repay student loans, purchase a car, pay for housing, buy food or purchase supplies for the classroom – something that is increasingly becoming an expectation.”

This story was posted on the WEAC Facebook page over the weekend and generated a lot of support and discussion. Most people recognized that with the current leadership in the Legislature the bill has little or no chance of passage but nonetheless appreciated the effort by Kahl and Wachs to recognize the disparity in pay between legislators and educators and to acknowledge the value of public school educators in the lives of our children:

WEAC – “Under the bill, legislator pay would be frozen… | Facebook

“Under the bill, legislator pay would be frozen until such time as the average pay of a first-year, full-time teacher in Wisconsin becomes equal to…