Some parents attend their kid’s football games.
Some parents read the school district’s annual report.
I am not attending Caswell’s football game an hour away from home tomorrow; Tyler’s on that. But I did review District 300’s annual report.
As I was reviewing the pretty-much glowing report, the staff profile page caught my eye. As a former reporter who sat through hours-long school board meetings long ago, I was familiar with such statistics. For instance:
- District 300 (which has three high schools) employs 481 secondary teachers.
- The majority of teachers have a master’s degree plus 30 credit hours (and, conveniently, tuition reimbursement is part of the fringe benefits).
- Average years of teaching experience: 10.27.
- More than 93% of teachers in the district are white, which is higher than the state average and much, much higher than the percentage of students in the district who are white (61.2%).
- Student to teacher ratio at the secondary level: 21 students for every teacher.
Something was missing, however, to this reporter’s eye: Salaries. Small print said, “Staff Salaries and Benefits: To view the contracts for each of D300’s employee groups, click here. [This link was updated 6/25/13 with the most current contract; the numbers recorded in this blog were current in 2009].
OK. So I did.
I had to download an 8.52 MB document with 155 pages. I don’t suppose a lot of tax payers are going this far, but I’m willing to make sacrifices for my blog (in the name of public information). I know teachers and administrators really don’t like this at all — that their salaries are public information, but they are paid with public tax money. District 300 wasn’t making it easy to get.
The index sent me to the wrong page for salary schedules, and when I found the right page, it references an appendix. When I finally found the appendix, I learned a teacher with a master’s degree and 30 credit hours with 10 years experience is paid $58,446 (that’s the “gross amount of actual pay” not including retirement). That’s a 3% pay increase over last year. I’m not sure even teachers merit a pay raise in this economy — I took a 10% pay cut in the past year — but that’s the value of teacher unions, I guess.
By the way, I also learned an assistant football coach (from whom Caswell derives direct benefit) is paid $3,837 to $4,780 a year, depending on his experience.
So, I looked at my property tax statement to see how much of a teacher I paid for. I paid $4,231.28 in property taxes to District 300 in tax year 2008 (couldn’t find my 2009 bill). That’s 7.2% of one teacher. Of course, according to the student : teacher ratio, Caswell is getting only 4.7% of a teacher, so I’m not getting my money’s worth, but that’s the drawback of having a big house and a lot of District 300 overhead, I guess.
For the most part, I think public education is a good deal. Even when I didn’t have a child who was benefiting from public education, I knew schools were educating the next generation and keeping them busy (so they weren’t vandalizing my property and stealing from me). I would never, in a million years, be able to keep 21 kids interested in anything (except possibly sex education, but that class opens all sorts of other problems in discipline), so I’m grateful for teachers.
But I’m not sure they deserved a raise this year, when so many people lost jobs, took pay cuts and saw the value of their homes plummet. Just my two cents.