BY MORRIE PONGRATZ
When my wife and I moved here 50 years ago we were attracted by the excellent reputation of the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS). We were disappointed to find that resources for teachers in Los Alamos were lagging what we had experienced at Benjamin Tasker Junior High in Bowie Maryland where Cheryl was chair of the science department (I even taught earth science there for a while).
For example, Cheryl took a significant cut in pay to teach at LAPS. Currently the average teacher salary in Prince George’s County is $60,500 while the average teacher salary in Los Alamos is $48,500. By the way, the average salary for LANL workers living in Los Alamos is just short of $132,000.
An anecdote from a friend gets specific. She had been employed by Los Alamos County and then went to work as an aide at LAPS. She recounted that at the county when she needed copy paper to make event flyers, she just took what she needed – no questions. When a similar situation occurred at LAPS, she had to ask for a key to cabinet with the copy paper and had to count out the number of sheets that she took!
While our schools do a great job of preparing students to be college and career ready, a lot of the credit must go to our outstanding teachers and staff as well as to our parents who value the importance of education. But nevertheless, our teachers still experience shortages today! The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is trying to make up for the shortfalls that our teachers experience.
To learn about specific shortages, check out the wish lists on the foundation’s “Shower with Love” site (https://lapsfoundation.com/ or https://e.givesmart.com/events/uYo/ ) and see what some 200 plus teachers have asked for.
You can help our teachers!