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It is certainly appropriate to question teaching salaries and administration compensation

In public education, teachers pay, teachers union Ridgewood New Jersey on March 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Mr Common Sense said…
It is certainly appropriate to question teaching salaries and administration compensation in light of the following facts:

(1) Approximately $57M of the $85M 2008-09 budget is teachers salaries and tax-exempt benefits. (Note: this does not count other forms of benefits provided to our staff, such as tuition reimbursement, etc).

(2) District wide we employ about 550 teachers and 150 “classroom aides.”

(3) There are 5,500 students in our district. This works out to one teacher salary per 7.8 students.

Most importantly, (4) Ridgewood is a district that attracts top teaching talent – not for the compensation – but because of the student population, parent involvement, and commitment to excellence.

My opinion: I feel that we don’t have to pay top dollar to attract great teachers to Ridgewood, so we shouldn’t. If we were able to pay them less, or reduce their untaxed income (medical benefits, tuition reimbursement, etc) they will stay. Unfortunately, the teacher’s union will employ professional negotiators to present their arguments during the contract talks. Their chief “point” is always the same: Teachers in comparative district “x” (and they will have the latest figures on salaries in other districts, because the same professional negotiators that the NJEA sends to the teacher’s union hammered out the contract talks in “comparative district x”) make more money than the teachers in Ridgewood, and that is ‘unfair.’

Either the BOE will cave or the council will override. Sorry, but those are the facts, and we end up with paying (average) $62,000 (plus full, untaxed benefits) to our teachers for 184 days of work (that’s half-a-year to the rest of us).

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  1. "(4) Ridgewood is a district that attracts top teaching talent – not for the compensation – but because of the student population, parent involvement, and commitment to excellence."

    How do you know that compensation doesn't play a factor in our District's ability to attract talent? Have you conducted a survey of teachers & prospective teachers?

    Common sense suggests that teachers are like any other professional. They want to work in a place that they like, and they want to get paid for it. They didn't take an oath of poverty.

    If other districts — especially comparable NJ districts like Princeton, Holmdel & Mountain Lakes — offer higher salaraies than Ridgewood, then top teachers will choose them over Ridgewood.

  2. They took an oath of high pension and early retirement and never being fired in exchange for salaries that rival the rest of us in the middle class.

    Looks like a win-win to me!

  3. 3:50- they why didnt YOU go into teaching, if it looks like such a peach of a job? Just sayin.

  4. “(4) Ridgewood is a district that attracts top teaching talent – not for the compensation – but because of the student population, parent involvement, and commitment to excellence.”

    Who are you kidding? The parent involvement in Ridgewood has a high percentage of parents (NOT ALL) who think their child is THE most brilliant, best behaved, most gifted child on the planet. This becomes tiring when you deal with parents of 150 of the “most brilliant” children all day every day. These teachers earn every penny they make.

    They could be teaching in school systems where parents care just as much, the children are just as committed, but there is no feeling of self-entitlement and self-importance. THAT is a school system that would draw teachers.

  5. N.J. Teacher Contract talks include push for SMALLER RAISES, REDUCED BENEFITS.
    NJ com article Feb.17:

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/teacher_ contract_talks_include.html

    ======
    School board pay freezes and reductions under consideration in states.

    Feb. 5 Washington Post article:

    A Virginia school district is facing PAY FREEZE, LARGER CLASSES Proposed in Budget, reduction staff thru retirement.
    CLASS SIZES would INCREASE to state maximum of 30 per elementary classroom and middle and high to 35 maximum students.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/02/05/ST2009020500832.html

    A sign of whats to come. Unions taking notice.

  6. teacher’s are paid a very good starting salary — close to $50,000 (not including benefits) for 184 – 186 days of work. this is a salary for people with bachelor’s degrees. most all of them live at home because they’ve just come out of college. then they go back to school during the school year (paid by the district) to get their Master’s degrees. another jump in salary. plus, any credits they take during the year through the ‘in-house’ program – another jump up the scale.

    on top of that there are “lead teachers” — someone please explain that job description? why do we have BSI, Educational Specialists, ESL, Supplemental Instruction, and one or two Resource Room teachers in every building? the number of staff have EXPLODED in the past few years. so much so that there is not enough parking at the schools!

    on top of that there was the Teachers College boondoggle. a BIG FAT waste of taxpayers money — ask any teacher. they not only HATED being in those dull, boring workshops every couple of weeks, but the expense incurred by having to hire subs for each teacher, in addition to paying the instructor’s transportation, lunch (i know for a fact at least one elementary school paid for these every time), snacks/goodies for the teachers, etc. these sessions were VERY EXPENSIVE. on top of the fee paid to Columbia TC for the program!

    the teachers would complain about the reading/writing workshop and quite honestly not all teachers follow that teaching dogma. some teachers quietly say that they will not do it as it takes up too much time from other things, like oh, i don’t know, science? social studies?

    and there aren’t enough hours in the day to talk about the WASTE in classroom materials and copying and ink costs. it is a MESS and the business manager, with his assistant, don’t have a clue. why the business mgr still has his job is beyond everyone who works in the district. after 2 years he had to hire an assistant? is that because he was spending too much time at the local restaurants and they needed a warm body to sit in his chair while he was out? an assistant at $600 a day is what i’ve heard. for WHAT exactly?

    this isn’t just the salary of the teachers, this is BAD MANAGEMENT FOR YEARS. PROFLIGATE SPENDING FOR YEARS. that is the real problem.

  7. Not all great teachers are in it for the money.
    Also some teachers want to have an easy job with easy kids to teach and a great pay structure is just icing on the cake.

  8. teacher’s are paid a very good starting salary — close to $50,000 (not including benefits) for 184 – 186 days of work. this is a salary for people with bachelor’s degrees.most all of them live at home because they’ve just come out of college.

    Question: How do you know that most teachers live at home? Is there evidence behind your claim? If so, I would be very interested to here that

    Also, please justify your metric of 184 days of work? Are you counting only the days that school is in session?

    Also there’s a lot of talk about “untaxed” benefits. Can you find me an employee at decent private sector job with “taxed” health and dental plans. Those are tax free benefits in the public and private sectors.

    i find it hard to believe that parents are posting on this blog – wouldnt we want to spare no expense to educate our children rather than cut corners?

  9. Most beginning teachers live at home? I want to know where that person got that one…

    I know VERY few teachers who live at home and the starting salary is not $50,000. That is public knowledge.

    184 “working days”…. not really.

    If teachers’ “working” days were counted up, they would far exceed that. Weekends, nights, breaks and summers are ALL times that teachers work as well. There are very few teachers that have the summer “off”. Or the the weekends.

    I don’t think that anyone can start spewing out fake statistics or anger until they take the time to understand the full scope of the situation.

    I also don’t think the people of Ridgewood can afford to be so critical of the people who are educating their children.

    Teachers are already underappreciated, but when they see some of the things that parents say, they feel like they are being “bashed”.

    I think we need to worry about our children’s education and not about tenure or how awful the Union is. That is not going to to change, so why beat it to death?

    Something constructive needs to be suggested so the level of education that Ridgewood is known for can continue.

  10. I can’t comment on administrative compensation, but a student in direct contact with teachers, I feel that my input is valid.

    The bottom line? Ridgewood needs more QUALITY teachers, and should stop worrying about its 7 students to 1 faculty ratio. The classes with the best teachers are generally packed. Does that indicate anything? I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know I’d rather take a full class with an excellent teacher, than a small class with a lousy one.

  11. “i find it hard to believe that parents are posting on this blog – wouldnt we want to spare no expense to educate our children rather than cut corners?

    6:31 PM”

    I’m a parent and we pay EXTRA to get a real education — rather than leftish babble — for our kids from tutors, etc.

    Teachers are well meaning, but administrators have filled their programs with crap. This is NOT education; its propaganda. Have you looked recently at a history book?

    It makes my hair curl it’s so blatantly pacifist, anti-american and left wing. And I haven’t even mentioned math or science yet. Garbage in, garbage out. You guys suck at your jobs.

    So, yes, I have to pay extra to cleanse this garbage out of my children’s system. The public school does enough damage. Whatever happened to “do no harm?”

  12. New teachers come to Ridgewood for one reason – they are funneled here by Nancy Schultz to carry out Regina’s flawed experiment.

    You want something constructive? Fire Regina.

  13. Wow! so many stimulating responses.

    I appreciate teachers and all they do. Obviosuly, one of the main reasons Ridgewood has such a great community and high prperty value is the quality of our educational system. And I think that is 100%, entirely, completely the result of great teachers. Not a ‘great board’ or specific programs or anything else.

    Face it, we have substandard facilities, but we still turn out great students. I think that is due to great teachers.

  14. “I think we need to worry about our children’s education and not about tenure or how awful the Union is. That is not going to to change, so why beat it to death?”

    9:00PM I say it better change or there will be hell to pay. And we won’t shut up until it does.

  15. 9:00PM..I think we need to worry about our children’s education and not about tenure or how awful the Union is. That is not going to to change, so why beat it to death?

    Nothing is written in stone.
    Change is coming. see post 4:18PM above. Change already taking place in other districts, and states – proposed smaller pay raises, reduced benefits, Pay Freezes, Larger classes, Reduction Staff in order to balance budgets in this economic financial crisis.

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