New Berlin teachers leaving after Act 10 changes

A significant number of teachers are leaving the New Berlin School District in Wisconsin following the Act 10 legislation that was passed in 2011, which rolled back collective bargaining and gave school boards and district officials more authority over salary and teacher benefits.

According to NBSD officials, changes were implemented that will benefit the students and the school in the long run. Officials have brought the teacher's salaries closer to the state average and raised the minimum starting wage by $5,000, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

"The unintended consequence of Act 10 is that there's no reason to stay in a district that is not treating you well anymore, and we have the ability to leave to go to districts that recognize our value, and want us to join their staff," said Jill Werner, a former teacher in the school district. "So, as much as they thought it would balance the budget and help put money back into the schools, it's caused the quality of the education within the schools to go down, at least initially, until others are trained."

Many cities and public schools across the country are enduring similar budgetary issues and are searching for ways to implement reforms that will help control spending without asking either side to give up too much. In a number of towns, administrators and teachers have been able to compromise and reach agreements that do not undermine the value of education the schools provide.

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