kitchen table math, the sequel: What if you're already a lean, mean educating machine?

Friday, October 28, 2011

What if you're already a lean, mean educating machine?

I sit on a school board of a charter school that had its per pupil revenue cut again last year. We're under $6k per pupil, and we operate well on less money than the district schools have. Our school gives merit increases instead of the traditional step-salary schedule and this is now the second year that we have been unable to give any raises, excepting what is mandated by the state for the teacher retirement program.

Until the state raises PPR, however, the chances of teachers getting raises are minimal.  We ask a lot of our teachers and they deliver. How much longer will they be willing to do so? The surrounding district is still paying scheduled salary increases.

However...we do have a little bit of cash and so voted to allot some of it to provide a bonus for the teachers that have helped the school through the last few years when we were growing. Mind you, the amount of the bonus ranged between $700 -$1500. Hardly seems worth their hard work, yet as a Board, we want to acknowledge their dedication.

Last week, this arrived in my inbox:
Dear BOD Members,

I want to personally thank you for the bonus I will receive on October’s paycheck, as well as the hard work you put in to make XXX Schools what they are.  I recognize that money is hard to come by from the culmination of our economic situation and school growth.  Please know that I feel XXX is a fantastic place to be, and I look forward to helping us grow to be excellent in everything that we do.

Thanks again for thinking of me.
OK, so it's only one teacher, but I bet that's more personal thanks than the district board gets.


Catherine Johnson said...


Hey Cassy - what's going on with the scheduled increases?

The surrounding public schools can pay them, but you can't?

This is because you're getting cut below the level of the regular public schools?

CassyT said...

We do get less than the district schools. Also, we're taking out a bond to expand our facility. We've already outgrown our High School.

Salaries are driven by PPR, which has not been increased in two years. There was a proposal to increase the CO state sales tax for 5 years, but it was defeated on Tuesday. The money raised would have been spread around to schools throughout the state. I voted against it as it was a mere band-aid. Schools need to learn to do with less and I'd suggest they start with less admin.

CassyT said...

Prop 103 would have raised both our state income and sales tax and was thought to raise $2.9 billion for schools in CO over 5 years. Prop 103 did NOT specify how the $$ would be distributed between higher ed & prek-12. It would have been money simply earmarked for education.

In Fort Collins last year, our local community passed both a Mill Levy and Bond for the schools. The money benefits students in Fort Collins.

We have four main high schools, an alternative program and now two charter high schools. The principal at one of the high schools said they actually had lay-offs two years ago, district level cuts only last year and this year they've hired some teachers. They've managed to sustain fairly well considering the state has cut 10% of education funding in the last 3 years.

Many other communities in Colorado have not been so fortunate. Here's some irony, though. The bond issue that passed in the district is earmarked for technology only. So we're upgrading computer labs, servers, etc with our portion. The district is deciding to spend some of that money issuing every freshman (who signs the appropriate paperwork/pays insurance, etc.) with a laptop.