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Fund to help improve teachers' salaries

Invested assets in the St. Stephen the Martyr Teachers' Salary Endowment have topped the $250,000 mark, according to Mike Sieler, president of the Board of Trustees.

"In little more than three years," Sieler said, "the endowment has grown from simply an idea to a quarter-of-a-million-dollar reality. The generous friends of this endowment are speaking loud and clear to the questions of competitive pay for our school's teachers as well as the obvious need for excellence in the classroom."

He said the purpose of the endowment is to help close the salary gap between teachers at the parish school and their counterparts in the local public school system.

"We know we must achieve a reasonable level of salary parity if we are to remain competitive in the teacher market," he said. "From our school's earliest days, we have been blessed with highly qualified, competent and motivated teachers. We intend to keep it that way."

Joan Stover, St. Stephen development director, said the endowment sought its first gifts in June 1991.

"My understanding is that our Teachers' Salary Endowment is the only endowment fund in the archdiocese that is devoted totally and exclusively to the goal of helping to improve teachers' salaries," she said. "The endowment has enjoyed consistent growth from large and small gifts from parishioners and a growing number of the people outside the parish who share our concern for equitable pay for our Catholic school teachers."

A board of trustees, the majority of whom must be school parents, operates the endowment. Rick Witt, who serves as head of the investment and finance committee, said assets of the fund, including both gifts and pledges, total $250,644. Witt, a member of St. Stephen parish, is chief investment officer for the Mutual of Omaha companies.

"The endowment's general investment and asset allocation policy is determined by the trustees," Witt said. "We then use RBC Dain Rauscher to provide the necessary investment services."

Sieler said the endowment offers donors a unique chance to "give a gift that keeps on giving."

"A donor's gift is never spent," Sieler said. "It's invested. Only the dividends, interest income and realized capital gains from the endowment are used to supplement teachers' salaries. A gift to the endowment never gets used up, never wears out. It just keeps on working."

For more information about the Teachers' Salary Endowment Fund, contact Stover at 896-9675.

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