***To preface this letter: This letter was written by my mother to the school district that my siblings and I attended and that my mothers now works for. Names and salaries have been marked out as by request of my mom. Both the original letter and the response my mom recieved are included.***
I am a substitute teacher for the Fort Zumwalt School District. I also enjoy being the accompanist for South Middle School’s and Dubray Middle School’s music departments, working closely with Mr. ********** at South Middle School and Mrs. ********** at Dubray Middle School.
My problem is that I often have to give up or not accept a substitute teaching job because I have a commitment to rehearse with the choirs. Sometimes, I give up an entire day of substitute teaching pay to play for 1-4 hours on the piano for a lower rate. The schedules are often haphazard or random because of when the choirs meet.
I understand that the pay for accompanists has been $**/hour for around 17 years now. I am also limited to 100 hours per year per school. Not only that, I do not get compensated for the time I spend practicing outside of school. If I include practice hours in my 100 hours, there is less time that I can actually play with the students. I give private piano lessons for more than twice the rate of accompanist’s pay. Substitute teacher pay has risen during the same time period. I feel that I have received as much training during my lifetime to play the piano as I have to be a substitute teacher. My recommendation is that accompanist pay be equivalent to substitute teacher pay and follow the same increases as substitute pay.
I think the district will find it increasingly more difficult to find accompanists who are willing and skilled enough to accompany given the irregular schedule and pay that are currently in place. It needs to be someone who is very flexible with their time, as well as someone who is not in it for the money.
Two years ago, I wrote and asked for an increase in pay and was told that it was not possible at that time. I was also told that I could write again later and request a raise. As a substitute teacher, I learned that staff pay has received an increase this year. I would think it only fair that accompanist pay also receive an increase. I would appreciate knowing your thoughts on this subject and if this is something that could be implemented for the 2012-2013 school year. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Thank you for your service to the district. I talked with the superintendent and at this time, accompanist pay won’t change. I do appreciate your email and have passed that along to the Superintendent. Thank you.**********