MNEA uses ‘very misleading ranking’ to justify demand for salary hike

To the editor:

Regarding the Call’s recent article headlined, “Palamand, Trakas oppose pay hike in an attempt to slow deficit spending,” Mehlville National Education Association negotiators justify their demand for a salary increase by using a very misleading ranking, declaring that Mehlville is ranked 25 out of 27 area districts in starting teacher salary.

In the interest of full disclosure, members of the community will want to know that teacher salaries are determined by two factors — years of service, steps, and level of education, channels.

Mehlville’s teacher salary schedule has five channels: Bachelor’s, Bachelor’s +15, Master’s, Master’s +30, and Multiple Advanced Degrees — visit

to view the full salary schedule on the district’s website.

When MNEA officials say Mehlville is ranked 25 out of 27, they are looking at teachers who are at Step 1 in the Bachelor’s channel.

Only 4 percent of Mehlville teachers are in this category, while a whopping 81 percent of Mehlville teachers are paid at the Master’s or higher level, per the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Comparing salaries at the three Master’s and above channels, a different picture emerges than the one the MNEA paints. For example, compared to nearby Lindbergh — visit the district’s website at

for the full salary schedule — for those three channels, Mehlville teachers are paid more than Lindbergh in a majority of steps and channels. This is true even after Lindbergh’s recent salary increase.

Also, if you compare the two districts based on teachers’ hourly wage, Mehlville teachers are paid at an even higher rate because Mehlville teachers work fewer hours — the equivalent of six fewer days. By promoting the myth that Mehlville teachers are underpaid, MNEA negotiators have greatly damaged their relationship with both the community and their own members.

As salary discussions continue with the board, the MNEA has the opportunity to redeem itself. For the sake of all involved, let’s hope they leave the spin at home. If they don’t, the board has a fiduciary obligation to call them on it.