My experience in this year's round of school budget discussions is that the staff could care less about the general taxpayers' vocal desire to pay market wages, have employees contribute toward their healthcare costs at a level equal to other state government employees, cut costs by seeking efficiency, and share services with local gov'ts. The tactic of sticking it to the students continues...'give us our raise and pass this budget' or 'we'll cut sports/extracuriculars' etc.My town doubled school spending in 10 years' time with no measurable gains in student achievement. Real per pupil spending (based in audited financials) is now around $32K. And rising.
There was a bone tossed to seniors a few years ago in the form of a tax reduction. But for everyone else, it has been vocalized that a $1000 increase in property taxes really shouldn't be a problem. I get the feeling that the classism is on the rise.
I actually wouldn't mind paying more in taxes, except I know it just goes to teacher salary, not to students. I reallly can't see paying a gym teacher over $95K in a county where the average person takes home 50K. I can't see paying a math teacher over $100K when the results are this dismal, and even if every child was scoring a '4' on the state exam, I know that the large Fortune 100 company over in Dutchess Co. is not paying its engineers with higher educational levels and similar experience that much for a nonmanagement job. I'm for a salary cap on positions and reasonable compensation.
This year we've pushed the administration to adopt evidence-based decision making and link spending to student achievement.