For The Kids - Really?

For The Kids - Really?

 

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

          -Albert Einstein

School Spending is up $789 Million
Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:20

The Washington Education Association (WEA) has called for a “Day of Action” rally in Olympia on November 28th, the first day of the Special Session of the Legislature.  Teachers and public school employees are being urged to leave their classrooms to attend this rally and deliver a “budget cuts hurt kids” message to legislators.  A Week of Action is planned for this week (11/14), with teachers across the state wearing “These Cuts Hurt” buttons, and the WEA placing editorials and ads in newspapers across the state claiming that school budgets have been cut.

Despite cries about hurting kids, the state education budget has not been cut.  Education spending has increased by $789 million compared to the last budget, rising from $12.9 billion in the 2009-11 budget to $13.7 in the 2011-13 budget.

This spending boost includes teacher salary step increases, pension and benefit increases, student enrollment increases, $62.2 million in new programs, $92 million for full-day kindergarten, and the start-up costs for spending $300 million to implement a new test for Washington’s students.  Reductions of 3% and 1.9% to the highest paid administrators and teachers, respectively, were included in the 2011-13 budget, but many districts were able to avoid imposing these reductions and reduced other areas of local spending instead.

In 2010-11, schools added an additional 235 employees to school payrolls, increasing from 101,675 employees in 2009-10 to 101,910 employees in 2010-11.

Here is a summary, based on data from the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee, and the State Board of Education.

1.  Public School Staffing

  • Number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) school employees:  101,910
  • Number of FTE classroom teachers:  48,397
  • Number of students per classroom teacher:  20.5
  • Share of employees who are classroom teachers:  47%

2.  Education Spending

  • Total education spending in 2010-11 (budgeted) dollars:  $10.25 billion
  • Share of each education dollar reaching the classroom:  59 cents
  • Per pupil spending in operating costs only:  $10,326
  • Per pupil spending in operating and capital costs (for 2009-10):  $12,089
  • Average teacher’s pay and benefits:  $79,814.  Base and other salary of $61,396, plus $18,418 in benefits and pension
  • Average district administrator pay and benefits:  $127,506.  Base and other salary of $102,828, plus $24,678 in benefits and pension
  • Average superintendent pay and benefits:  $161,856.  Base and other salary of $130,656, plus $31,200 in benefits and pension

In Washington 74,000 students attend 228 schools ranked as the worst schools by the State Board of Education’s Public School Accountability Index, while only 28,650 students attend 81 schools ranked as the best schools on the Index.

Simply spending more money does not raise student achievement.  State leaders could improve schools by passing legislation that:

  1. Lets principals fire bad teachers;
  2. Lets students attend a charter school;
  3. Puts principals in charge of their school budgets.

Detailed research and ideas for reform are available in Washington Policy Center’s study,Eight Practical Ways to Reverse the Decline of Public Schools.

 

Top adminstrator pay for various districts

Administrative position Salaries
2010-11
Deer Park School District
Superintendent
$124,347
Other District Admin. $106,838
Professional
$103,533
Other District Admin.
$99,197
Other District Admin.
$99,196
Nine Mile Falls School District
Superintendent
$118,442
Other District Admin.
$104,387
Director/Supervisor
$102,563
Other District Admin.
$98,818
Medical Lake School District
Superintendent
$159,342
Other District Admin.
$127,243
Other District Admin.
$121,065
Director/Supervisor
$120,028
Other School Admin.
$97,412
Riverside School District
Superintendent
$149,612
Professional
$115,269
Director/Supervisor
$76,213
Director/Supervisor
$72,073
Director/Supervisor
$65,914
Liberty School District
Superintendent
$114,844
Director/Supervisor
$75,602
Director/Supervisor
$65,954
Professional
$53,329
Freeman School District
Superintendent
$134,675
Director/Supervisor
$85,632
Director/Supervisor
$83,138
Director/Supervisor
$65,314
   

Note how many earn more than $100,000 per year, when the median family income in Spokane county is less than $50,000.