I happened upon this article ( scroll down) from a few weeks ago in the Conway Daily Sun and based upon some comments I've received and the Moultonboro Teachers Union contract increases we will soon be voting on, this presents an interesting contrast. Our district actually has in place a retirement incentive program. From the ABC 2015 review of the Teachers contract: "The intent(of the incentive) was to entice the experienced higher salaried teachers to take an early retirement, allowing the district to replace the retiring teachers with less tenured and therefore less costly staff."
For comparison purposes ( as per the NH DOE) Conway ranks 145th in the state with an average teacher salary of $42, 922 based upon 158.5 FTE's. Moultonboro ranks 48th with an average teacher salary of $58,618 based upon 59.6 FTE's.
Our student/teacher ratio is 8.3 while Conway is 11.3 ( both are excluding pre-school and kindergarten). The problem in Conway is money. If the average teacher salary in Conway were equivalent to Moultonboro, the increased cost at just base salary ( no benefits) by itself is $2.5 million annually. I would suspect that there is a happy medium somewhere , but the real issues are the educational outcomes. I haven't investigated if Conway's problem of teacher retention has translated into better or worse student performance, and I'm not sure how we could measure that accurately. I do know that there is a wide disparity among school districts in many areas, not the least of which is cost per student without any NH DOE system of real metrics to substantiate spending more or less. What is optimum and what is effective? We are in the midst of a transition so the jury is still out on the new standards and testing being implemented and it may take a few years to fully evaluate the results.