Wake School Board Retreat Looks At Compensation – Sort Of.

The News and Observer has a rather long article up about teacher recruitment. It discusses teacher supplements quite a bit and includes an embedded link to a presentation used at the most recent Wake School Board retreat. This presentation deals mainly with Wake County data and is focused on compensation and new teacher training/retention. The turn over report data is included, but remember how that was magically adjusted last Fall.

Compensation & Supplements

Be sure to check out page 16, where it shows how teacher base salary has risen from $28,532 in 2004 to $35,189 in 2013. The prior page shows where it stagnated when former Governor Beverly Perdue froze it. That’s not mentioned in the article though.

Page 16 also shows the value of the benefits package of a first year teacher ($19,185) versus a ten-year teacher ($22,632). It uses the current base of $30,800 for first year teachers, not the new $35,000 base salary put forth by Governor McCrory recently. So the entry-level teacher’s compensation looks like this:

Base $30,800.00
WCPSS Supplement & Benefits $23,547.00
Total Compensation $54,347.00
Minus Employee Cost of Benefits $4,875.00
Final Compensation $49,472.00

It should be pointed out that the supplement for first year teachers is $4,389. The average supplement given out for teachers in Wake county last year was $6,189.  Again, I ask why teacher pay groups have not been making noise about these supplements, which are given out at the discretion of the individual district. It disturbs the narrative of low pay? Perhaps, but if these groups are really interested in helping raise teacher pay, the scale of teacher supplements that ranges from zero up to near 7k should be discussed no?

One last thing about the supplement, the principals and assistant principals get them too. In Wake county, the average last year was $27,602 for principals and $11,466 for assistant principals. Don’t forget, Superintendent Merrill was hired at $275,000 with a nice set of perks. Superintendent Tata made around $255,000. It would seem Wake had no trouble throwing down a $20k raise to attract a single employee at the Superintendent level.

Cost of Benefits

Quoted in the article is David Neter, Wakes Chief Business Officer who, in 2011, made $150,831, which made him the 3rd top paid Wake county schools official. I was unable to locate Mr. Neter’s current salary, but I can’t imagine it went down. Neter expresses concern over the cost of benefits:

David Neter, Wake’s chief business officer, said you should also keep in mind the challenges facing teachers who are paying $8,000 a year for family health insurance coverage. Wake picks up most of the costs for teachers who only have individual coverage.

How many of these teachers paying over 8k for family medical? How are they different from regular state employees also paying for family medical?  Quick reminder – the cost could be higher. Neter sent a memo out last Spring warning about rising costs from Obamacare and how subs hours would need to be cut.  That’s kind of a huge story that never really got play by the local media.

The Bigger The Title, The Bigger The Salary?

School Board Vice Chairman Tom Benton raises the issue of higher salaries in state government:

Benton noted how there are many couples in Wake who are both teachers.

“What really struck me this past year and we’ve had discussion about people making $80,000 in state government, a teaching couple together don’t reach $80,000,” Benton said.

Yeah, like the huge amount of educrat bloat at DPI, large superintendent salaries, large education lottery salaries and the coming cost of Common Core — of which isn’t mentioned once in the N&O article. By the way, what you make Mr. Benton?

I dug around for the DPI and education lottery salaries.  Here is what I found on the Department of Public Instruction and the Education Lottery.

  • At the Education Lottery, 33 people  make over 70k.  The top earner, Alice Garland, makes $197,535. These 33 people have a combined salary total of $3,224,178.
  • At DPI, 433 people make over 70k. Approximately 80 of them make over 90k and 45 of them make over 100k.  The top earner there is Dr. Atkinson’s right hand woman, Rebecca Garland, makes $153,824. These 433 people make up a salary total of $36,854,054. Many, in fact most of them, received recent legislative increases.

I’m sure we’ll see a detailed series on the expansive growth at DPI and their salaries in the local media…. never.

Educrat bloat isn’t the only spending issue. Stupid spending is another.  Let’s not forget how the perpetually dysfunctional Wake county school board, pushed by Sutton, wanted to drop nearly half a million dollars last year on creating an “Office of Diversity and Equity”. That nearly half a million included a six figure salary for the director, of course.

School board chairman Keith Sutton has been the big backer of creating this new office, which is modeled on one in the Guilford County school system. It’s because of Sutton that staff developed a business case for creating the new office even though it wasn’t part of the original budget request.

The business case calls for spending $487,858 to fund the new office. That’s $110,105 for the director, $41,748 for the data manager and $173,480 for three teacher trainers/diversity specialists. Add in additional costs for things like supplies, a laptop and printer and workshops.

“The office will define, assess and cultivate social equity/cultural competence as an institutional asset,” according to the business case. “The focus will be on building capacity through training teachers and administrators around diversity initiatives of the system, ensuring equitable opportunities for students, and equitable access in resources.” – N&O

In other words, well-funded social justice crap and a lot of rationalizing of the existence of such a department. No thanks. I’d rather have well stocked classrooms, a bump to teacher pay or keep teaching assistants. Perhaps the quickest way to help impoverished students learn is to actually have the needed materials and appropriately compensated teachers first and foremost?

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Thanks to Carolina Plott Hound for linking!

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips: APDillon@Protonmail.com
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