San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Public School Teachers Get a Salary Hike

Teachers will make more money next school year, thanks to a recent resolution by the Ministry of Public Education, the Finance Ministry and the Civil Service Director.

A bonus that in past years rewarded only teachers who worked for 200 days will now become part of all teachers’ salaries. Teachers will earn 14% more a month, and administrators and technical support staff will make 2.5% more a month starting in 2008.

Total annual income for these groups will increase by about ¢3,000 million ($5.8 million), said Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga in a statement.

In past years, the Education Ministry gave the bonus every September to teachers who had worked for almost 200 days.

Teachers who missed 26 or more days of class would lose the entire bonus. Those who missed fewer than 26 days would lose a proportional percentage of the bonus.

“It was complicated to do the calculations – who was there, who wasn’t,” said Ruth Piedra, a spokeswoman for the Civil Service, which handles teacher hiring, payroll and other employment-related issues.

A second problem was that teachers who missed class would see two salary cuts: one in the September bonus, and another in their monthly checks. Now that the bonus will become part of their salary, teachers will be penalized just once for absences.

“The (old) system was very unjust. It unfairly punished educators” who miss school because of sickness or an accident,” said Vice-Minister of Finance José Luis Araya.

Edgar Durán, secretary general of the High-School Teachers’ Association (APSE), said he is pleased with the resolution.

“It brings some very favorable conditions,” he said, adding that teachers’ unions have been demanding the change for years.

In July, hundreds of teachers rallied in San José demanding changes in the way their wages are calculated (TT, Aug. 3).



Comments are closed.