$301 Million @ over $8,265/student for GPS education

Does it really cost $8,265+ to educate our children for a year?  Using the stats that GPS uses for average class size (27 students on avg) equates to an average cost of $223,155 per classroom.  With an average teacher salary floating anywhere between $43K and $48K depending on which report you read (we’ll use $45K), that leaves a whopping $180,155 per classroom for expenses.  Books, pencils, paper, tissue boxes, chalk, and then utilities and other consumables all cost money right?  But wait, schools are constantly doing drives to augment their supply cabinets.  You’d get the impression that cuts to education have left our children without classroom essentials. 

Before you feel sorry for teachers and the lousy pay they get, consider the following:

  • $43K  avg salary per year
  • Benefits package that rivals most private plans worth over $10,000/employee.  Benefits package effectively raises salary benefits to a total of $53K/year as employees pay a lump sum of $400/year for the benefits.
  • 2 weeks vacation in the fall, 2 weeks vacation in the spring, 2 months+ vacation in the summer, and all bank holidays
  • 6+ days of sick leave
  • State supported pension plan guaranteeing employees a retirement

Is this a get rich plan?  Nope.  Nobody said it was.  But if you love spending time with kids, teaching, oodles of time off spread throughout the year, and can manage to live without all the fancy toys while enjoying the security of cadillac benefits… then this gig isn’t so bad.  With a great many households drawing a secondary income, a spouse making even close to the same as teaching would draw down well over $80K/year.  Only one spouse would need to carry the cost of benefits.  That’s quite a comfortable living, especially in today’s down economy.

School officials will tell you that there’s only $208 Million in the budget for next year and that THIS is the number to focus on.  This statement is true, but not the WHOLE truth.  Shame on district staff who use this number to avoid answering the question on what it costs taxpayers for public education.  Oh… wait…  Charter schools are public education entities as well.  What do they get?  Public School officials would love to see more transparency in financial reporting, yet are unwilling to spill the beans themselves.  Why doesn’t the district disclose on the school board meeting agendas the amounts of money being approved?  We only see the general subject matter, rarely is there a dollar amount attached. 

District cronies better be careful what they wish for.  If it’s ever brought out in the open that Charter schools are able to do what district schools do for less than 60% of the monies, more folks may consider pushing their legislators to grant vouchers.  By the way… what’s the difference between a voucher and a scholarship?  Aren’t both viewed as an authorized amount of money for education that follows the student wherever they wish to go to school?  Why then is a voucher so bad and a scholarship so good?

Imagine how much more teachers could get paid and how much more could be spent in the classroom for equipment and supplies if the GPS district didn’t have about as many administrators as they do teachers in the classroom?  Instead of merely counting certified vs. classified and so forth… count how many staff actually spend time with in-class instruction vs. non-teaching “educators”.  The numbers are staggering.  Compare these numbers with many charter schools and private schools and you’ll find a glut of administration that needs to be trimmed.

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