CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) -- Wisconsin educators were catapulted into the spotlight last year with the passage of Governor Walker's Act 10 which forced all public employees to contribute more to their health and retirement plans.
The act resulted in about a 10 percent cut in pay, which teachers say forced many of them into second jobs just to make ends meet.
Chippewa Falls physical education teacher Mary Baldeshwiler went into education for a fairly simple reason, she loved phy-ed.
“There’s a lot of things I love about my job, I love working with the kids they're funny, they're full of energy, I’ve made a lot of great friends in my staff,” Mary says.
And she'll be the first to admit it's pretty nice to have those summers off, but it's not as carefree as some in the community might imagine.
“I spent my first three summers in grad school, working on my masters and getting my adaptive physical education license,” Mary tells us.
And every few years Mary says teachers are required to get additional credits to maintain their teaching license and that can cost thousands of dollars, and has to be done over the summer.
Mary adds it's certainly not a high paying job, when she started teaching in the Chippewa Falls School District 12 years ago she made just $25,000.
And that leads us to Oakwood Mall. By day Mary teaches middle school phy-ed, by night she works at Scheels customer service center to help pay all her bills and have a little extra at the end of each month
And Mary says she's not alone,”One gentleman is toward the end of his teaching career, he needed a second job so he could pay for his kids college. And other people are to the point now they are struggling to make their house payment, or they've really had to cut back on extras,” she says.
So what is all this extra work and added stress doing to our teachers, and most importantly our children?
“If people are having to take supplemental jobs to make ends meet, they are not then able to put that time into lessons, put that time into tutoring or helping students, I just don't think it's ideal,” Eau Claire Association of Educators President Ron Duff Martin tells us.
Martin says what he's most afraid of is good teachers getting burned out and leaving the profession.
“There's a huge difference in what we do, when I began I was taught to teach the whole child, teach the curriculum, the content. Well today we're told to do so much more, we're told to be surrogate parents, surrogate social workers, we're asked to be a little bit of everything and I think that's harder for teachers,” Martin tells us.
Martin says teachers are often reluctant to talk about their need for a second job. He compares it to parents’ reluctance to ask for help paying for their children’s school lunches.
“I think it’s the same with our teachers they don't want anyone else to know that they need to have a second job just to make ends meet,” he says.
Starting salaries vary from district to district, in Eau Claire the starting salary for teachers is around $36,000. We contacted the Wisconsin Education Association Council or WEAC, they told us they do not keep statistics on teachers with second jobs. But anecdotally we're told the number is on the rise.