NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (WCCO) — Jarrod Hamdorf has been a math teacher for ten years. His wife’s been a Spanish teacher for nine. They both have master’s degrees. Even though they’re established in their careers, they’re both considering leaving the field.
Governor Scott Walker’s budget plans calls for teachers to pay much more toward healthcare and pension plans. Hamdorf figures that would cost him and his wife approximately $10,000 combined. The couple makes around $90,000 per year. They have a toddler now and another child on the way.
“If it was just the $10,000 pay, you’d just make do and move forward, but I can’t, I don’t, the uncertainty that’s coming out, you don’t know what’s coming down the road,” said Hamdorf.
He’s most worried that he and other teachers may lose collective bargaining rights. With plans to tie teacher wages to inflation, Hamdorf wonders if he’ll ever be able to get a raise.
“I don’t want to leave teaching. I really don’t,” said Hamdorf, as his voice choked up. “But if I have other talents, I mean, I’m just naive to not look at other stuff.”
Hamdorf got a lift Thursday morning when students showed their support for him and his colleagues at New Richmond High School.
“They cheered, they chanted my name, which was a first for me,” said Hamdorf, who showed off a note he received. “The kids got together and made thank you notes for us. Every teacher got one.”
Hamdorf respects Governor Scott Walker’s idealism, even if he doesn’t agree with the conservative’s ideas. He feels Walker’s plans to change how school are run are a case of “too much, too soon.”
“We don’t know what’s going to be the ramifications of changing how we do it,” said Hamdorf. “We don’t. Maybe it’s gonna make it better, maybe it’s gonna make it worse, but it sure seems like we’re cutting down the tree for a few limbs that need to be pruned, doesn’t it feel like that?”