Friday, May 5, 2017

Brunswick School Department Teacher Compensation

A friend who is working hard to follow town budget activities this time around, and is bird-dogging the School Department in particular, passed along this data, which was provided by the School Administration office.


Interestingly, total teacher salary expense is up by ~10%, while total teacher benefit expense is up by ~39% in the same time frame. This seems a bit odd.

The relatively small growth in teacher salary expense could be explained by a reduction in teaching staff, or replacing retiring teachers at the top of the pay scale with younger teachers in the lower half of the pay scale, or a combination of both.  Frankly, we don’t think the Department is prone to staff reductions, nor any other reductions for that matter.  So until we find out otherwise, we’ll assume its because of replacing retiring teachers with new ones who are paid considerably less.

The sizable increase in benefit expense supports this view, since the cost of benefits (except for retirement) are independent of salary level, and the taxpayers continue to pay the vast majority of these costs, including 85% of medical coverage.  In this day and age, that is a cadillac benefit.

We took the FY 18 Proposed Budget Book prepared by the department, which you can find here:

and came up with a total of 240.4 teachers in the system for the upcoming year, including those listed as ‘Special Ed’ and ‘Student Supports’.

This infers that for the upcoming school year, for which the proposed teacher salary expense is $14,772,310, that the average teacher salary is $61,448, and that the average teacher benefit cost is $21,111.  Or, total compensation per teacher for these two items is $82,559 on average.

If the number of teachers was the same in FY 16, those figures would be $57,248 for salary and $17,012 for benefits, for a total of $74,260 in compensation.

Average salary will have increased by $4,200 per year, and total compensation by $8,300 in two years.  Incomes may be flat for most of America, but you’ll have a hard time arguing that for the teaching corps in Brunswick.

Good luck in trying to navigate your way through this morass, and in dealing with the $45 million or so in new school spending that has yet to hit the budget, though we notice that signs to support the new school plan are popping up all over town.

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