In the Escalante School Board Meeting, I was asked the question by Jim Porter the GEA Union Rep why would anyone want to work in the Garfield School District? I would like to answer this question by taking two approaches. First, the compensation for the teachers on the Master’s Salary schedule ranks 19th out of 42 school districts with a salary of $58,124. The average starting salary for a new teacher with a Bachelor’s degree is $2,644, which is above North Summit, Wayne, Washington, Box Elder, Grand, Cache, and Nebo school Districts’. The District, at no cost to the employee, covers all medical insurance. The annual cost for a family insurance plan is approximately $14,832. All full-time employees receive a contribution of 1.5% of their salary into a 401K plan and next School year the employee will receive a contribution of 20.46 % of their salary into the Utah Retirement System. The District also pays into a group life insurance policy valued at $40,000. Employees who experienced a 4% decrease a few years ago received a 4% increase in compensation costing approximately $200,000. The District could have used this money in other areas but chose to return the money back to the employees this year. The Garfield School District has an outstanding faculty and staff who are dedicated to improving the education of the students. Teachers know the students by name; they work diligently to provide the best educational experience possible. In technology, the District budgets for $100,000 each year to maintain and improve technology in the classroom. We have an average class size of 16.66 students to every one teacher with the state average being 22.01. Second, if you step away from the money and evaluate the communities, you will find people who donate thousands of hours each year in the classrooms, coaching, or volunteering in the schools in some way to help the students. These volunteers are great assets to the classroom and the teachers. All of the communities are a great place to live; they take pride in their schools, and support the students. Local businesses provide charitable contributions in the form of scholarships. Garfield Memorial Hospital is donating 12 scholarships to graduating seniors. This year Leland’s Chevron will donate three additional scholarships to a graduating senior in Escalante, Tropic, and Panguitch. Many of our citizens choose to live in these small communities and travel great distances for employment. They sacrifice their time commuting to live in these wonderful communities we call home. The geographical beauty of this area is second to none. People travel from all over the world to see the natural wonders of this area. Citizens of Garfield County have an opportunity to view this beauty every day. We may not have the newest facilities but inside the classrooms, learning is achieved at rich quality. We see more students recognized in Academic All State selections, Sterling Scholar nominations, and higher graduation rates than many other districts. On a personal note, when I drop my kids off at school each morning, I know they will be greeted by teachers that care about them. They are receiving excellent educations in Garfield School District. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to live in Garfield County with such great people. Any new employee would feel the welcome arms of these small communities if they choose to be employed in the District. These are just a few reasons why someone would want to work in Garfield School District.
–Superintendent Ben Dalton