MORRISVILLE — There’s been plenty of talk about low pay and the lack of raises for teachers, and this town found a way to ease one financial burden, at least for a few of them.
Teachers at Cedar Fork Elementary School who don’t live in Morrisville will get a discount on before- and after-school programs for their own children at the town’s community center.
The discount amounts to about $3,000 a year, said Mayor Jackie Holcombe. The school has four teachers who can take advantage of the cheaper cost.
Under the new agreement, the teachers will now pay 25 percent more than the resident rate for the childcare programs. Until now, they’ve been paying rates that were 50 percent higher.
The new rate is the same as the corporate rate paid by business owners in town.
Cedar Fork Elementary School Principal Kathleen Marynak approached the town to ask for some financial relief.
The school, which has been recognized as an honor school of excellence, is over capacity. Teachers have done their best to promote town programs and arrive early and stay late to make sure Morrisville children get the best education possible, Marynak said.
“This is a burden for many,” she said of child-care costs. “Our teachers haven’t received raises in three years.”
According to town policy, Morrisville’s parks and recreation staff is allowed to give discounts to special groups.
Holcombe said she wanted the town to charge all teachers the same rate as residents, but the majority of the council agreed with the staff recommendation of a 25 percent discount.
“I want the very best teachers to be in Morrisville,” Holcombe said. “If we can offer them something to let them know their work is appreciated and valued, (we should).”
Some council members said they were worried that applying the resident rate or allowing a special rate for teachers would open the flood gates for similar requests from other groups.
“My only concern, if we did this kind of change, what would prevent other groups, ones working for state agencies (from) asking, ‘Could I have the resident rate?’ ” asked Councilman Steve Rao. “Sooner or later it adds up. We’re going to have a shortfall.”
Councilwoman Margaret Broadwell wanted town staff to consider discounts for low-income residents or those who were dealing with economic hardships. She suggested a tiered approach and requested a future staff report.