Thursday, October 18, 2007

Teacher Salaries and Truthtelling

In the October 18, 2007 issue, Hilliard This Week published a story titled “School salary negotiations to begin next week.” A key sentence in the story was this:

The first wage increase negotiated for the teachers took place in January 2005 with a 3.5 percent hike, followed by a 3.65 percent raise in 2006 and again in 2007.
As I alerted readers in an earlier post, this is not the whole truth. The members of the teachers’ union – the Hilliard Education Association – get two raises each year. The first, the one noted in this story, is the amount that the entire payscale is raised.

For example, a teacher who has a Master’s degree and 10 years of service would have been paid $56,971 in 2006. In 2007, a teacher with a Master’s degree and 10 years of service gets paid $59,050. The difference is $2,079, or 3.65%.

But here’s the rub. We’re not talking about the same teacher!

A teacher with a Master’s degree and 10 years of service in 2006 becomes in 2007 a teacher with a Master’s degree and 11 years of service. The pay for a teacher with a Masters and 11 years is $61,500. So this teacher’s pay would increase from $56,971 in 2006 to $61,500 in 2007. That difference is $4,529, or 7.95%.

When $96 million of our annual operating budget goes to pay salaries, the difference between 3.65% and 7.95% is $4 million per year. Isn’t that worth more complete disclosure?

This is my #1 complaint about the way our school system is run – the leaders hide the truth. They don’t talk to us about the magnitude of the funding shortfall our treasurer is forecasting ($37 million/yr by 2011), or how much our taxes will have to go up to cover this shortfall (40%).

They don’t tell us when they do a deal with a developer to put in a mile long water line costing us $834,000 but that the developer gets to use for free.

We don't know about these things because the Board sprints through the public part of their agenda in minutes, then retires to Executive Session for hours, where such things are discussed out of the public eye.

If you’ve had enough of this, please vote for me on November 6th. Meanwhile, please make sure all your friends and family in the Hilliard School District know about this blog, and the associated website:

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