Messmer Catholic schools to raise teacher pay, narrowing pay gap with public schools

Messmer Catholic Schools will spend $500,000 to boost teacher salaries by 10% to 30% over the next two years in a move intended both to sustain recent academic gains and uphold the church's teachings on social justice, its president said.

"If we're going to exhibit Catholic values of justice, that means appropriate compensation and fulfilling our mission," said Jim Piatt, whose system employs about 100 teachers on three campuses.

"Teachers should not be paid at a level that qualifies them for assistance or free and reduced lunch," he said.

The move by Messmer is an attempt to raise its teacher salaries to about 90% of their public school counterparts in and around Milwaukee, said Emily Koczela, its newly hired chief financial officer, who like Piatt had worked in the Brown Deer School District before joining Messmer.
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Without religious orders to leverage, this is the reality for Catholic education.

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