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Vox Pop - Feb. 22

Teachers need to quit whining

A recent survey noted the income for a family with a teacher was over $75,000 a year, while a family without one was only $50,000. An article in a Twin Cities newspaper indicated that with benefits, many teachers are making over $100,000.  It’s time for teachers to realize they’re making substantially more than the majority of the population. Enough of this “it’s for the kids.” If it is, be willing to take a pay cut so the families of those kids aren’t hurting so badly.

Stop signs needed

Several intersections in northeast Brainerd have no stop signs. Can you say T-bone? Hope no one gets hurt before the city finally wakes up and realizes there needs to be stop signs at all intersections period!

Following Wisconsin’s lead

After reading in your paper what’s happening in Wisconsin, maybe someone from the Brainerd School District administration should research and report to us taxpayers the exact cost of our teachers. My guess is the average instructor in our district makes well over $100,000 per year, especially since they work only nine months. With Brainerd’s high unemployment rate and so many suffering as a result, maybe the district needs to “put on the brakes” relative to any future increase in salaries and benefits. In fact, I think the Wisconsin governor’s on to something and we should follow his lead.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Steve Lund, director of business services for the Brainerd School District, said the average teacher salary in the district is $55,287, excluding benefits. The total average benefit package is $16,481, which includes $11,604 for the district’s contributions to family plan health insurance; $3,062 in contributions to the state pension fund; $1,110 in contributions to an individual retirement account (403B plan); $420 for dental insurance; $187 for long-term disability insurance; and $98 for life insurance. Total salary and benefits for the “average” teacher is about $71,768. If a teacher takes single vs. family insurance, the district’s contribution is $5,388, which brings this average salary and benefits down from $71,768 to $65,552. 

Lund said this and most other information is available by contacting the district office. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, has 2009 data for the St. Cloud region that lists an average salary for an elementary teacher at $52,620. Visit this link,, to compare salaries of professional positions with similar levels of education and experience in this region. 


It’s nice to see that CLC, Pequot, Staples-Motley, Crosby-Ironton and Little Falls choose to respect our early presidents, the men who shaped our nation. Maybe Brainerd’s school board members should have some class and venerate the men who guaranteed them their liberty. It’s bad enough to disregard Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but they can’t even honor the men who made the United States? Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone! I’d be happy to celebrate it with you, but I’m legally obliged to spend my day in school learning phrases like “Remember the past.” Ironic? Yes.

Snow removal

Wondering how much money the city of Brainerd received for all the snow plows they sold? Oh I suppose it’s a holiday so that’s why the roads are not plowed in a timely matter!

Regarding the MLK holiday editorial column

Martin Luther King Jr. could be honored and taught about in schools on days other than the federal holiday designated for him. To not observe the holiday and then give students a day off three days later appears disrespectful. Recently many are encouraging that this holiday be a day of service. Perhaps older students could be encouraged and give extra credit to volunteer in the community on this day to help those less fortunate. I believe Dr. King would have liked to be honored in this way.

Outraged American

When the Brainerd School District dishonored Martin Luther King Day, I remained silent because I wasn’t black. When they dishonored Presidents’ Day, I remained silent because I wasn’t an American. Oh, wait a minute. I am an American and I’m outraged. Who will stand with me and speak out to stop the Brainerd School Board from continuing this travesty.

Vox Pop, voice of the people, publishes Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Submissions are limited to 100 words. To phone in a comment, call (218) 855-5888 and leave a message. To e-mail a comment, write to Comments, which must meet the newspaper’s standards of fairness and good taste, may be edited for clarity, length and libel.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.