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Editorial: School cuts or school taxes?
Original post made
on Mar 11, 2010
In just a few weeks, voters in the Menlo Park City and Portola Valley school districts will decide whether to approve a modest parcel tax to help their schools get through a spurt in enrollment and financial meltdown that were not of their making.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:38 am
Posted from "MP school board OKs teacher layoffs"
Thank you "teacher" and "exasperated" for your contributions, however once again I must highlight the realities verses the passions that I read in many of these comments. I will not go down the path of arguing what teachers should or should not be paid. Let just suffice to say that everyone usually feels under paid and over worked. Instead, let's look at the numbers. This will also highlight the inequity in the current system.
First, I took the liberty to look at the salary grades for the districts in the area, as this is public information. Below are the numbers from four districts. What I have done is to list the start salary (right out college with a BA) then I listed the max salary a teacher could make. To also be fair, I put in the 10 year salary for a teacher with a BA plus 45 educational units. These numbers however do not include all of the stipends given for masters, doctorates, or National Board Certification. These tend to be about $1,500 per degree/certification per year. Here are the numbers. Any one is welcome to go to these any district to view salary schedules.
$50,942 (Start BA)
$101,029 (22 year BA+90)
$78,399 (10 years BA+45)
$51,422 (Start BA)
$100,751 (25 years BA+90)
$78,689 (10 years BA+45)
$43,817 (Start BA)
$79,325 (23 years BA+75)
$60,741 (10 years BA+45)
$43,879 (Start BA)
$85,395 (23 years BA+90)
$66,328 (10 years BA+45)
Now that we have the data for the salaries, let look at the overall theme that "Reality Bites" tried to bring up, although with a little too much passion. Below I have calculated the hourly rate of pay for teachers in the four districts. Here are the assumptions made, I am sure there are some minor inaccuracies so please only comment on the assumptions if they are way off.
First, I believe the school year mandated by the state is 180 days, I added 10 days for to allow for teacher work days before and after the school year. Second, I used an 8 hour day to calculate the hourly rate. Again for argument sake, this is a standard work day, I know most people do not work a standard 8 hour day but this is the true whether you are a teacher or a white collar professional. Third, I used 2080 hours (56 weeks a year, less two weeks' vacation and another 2 weeks' paid holidays) and times that by the hourly rate to calculate what that salary would be for someone working in the year around job. Below is the break out.
$78,399 / 190 days = $412.63/day / 8hr = $51.58/hr
2080 *$51.58= $107,286
$78689 / 190 days = $414.15/day / 8 hours = $51.77/hr
2080 * $51.77 = $107,682
Ravenswood School District
$60,741 / 190 = $319.69 / 8 hours = $39.96
2080 * $39.96 = $83,117
Redwood City School District
$66,328 / 190 = $349.09 / 8 = $43.64
2080 * 43.64 = $90,764.63
So, here is what I see, the "haves" are paying very good salaries while the "have not's" are having trouble attracting the best and brightest as they cannot compete with the "haves". This does not even look at the benefits package at these districts. Conservatively, I figure they comprise about an additional 30% of the salary. Let be realistic, people are attracted to the best paying salaries.
Here is an idea I have not heard, why doesn't the school board negotiate with the teacher union to reduce the salary bands by 5% to 10% for certificated employees and 10% to 15% for administration. Again, using the 10 year number (I assume this is a good middle number, although I would venture to say that is low for the MPCSD) and that there are 100 teachers in the district, at 5%, that would be $3,920 per teacher saving for a $390,200 savings and at 10% that would be $784,000 savings. Add in the saving of 10% to 15% of administration salaries, you could get close to $1M. Teachers could then be part of the solution to help save the jobs of their fellow teachers. Even if the salaries were at par with Ravenswood or Redwood City, I hardly think we would see teachers leave for these districts as working conditions are not nearly as posh as in MPCSD.
So MPCSD board, why don't you first exhaust all these options. You can renegotiate the contract. Cities, counties, municipal agencies all across the country are asking for their unions to help offset budget issues before coming to the taxpayers again. Companies in the valley have for years used the practice of either eliminating pay raises or cutting salaries by X% as a way to contain costs and/or save jobs. Come knocking when we are talking about cuts that compare with those being proposed in Ravenswood, Redwood City and other like districts in the state.