As issues with the state budget persist and individual school districts struggle with their own economic shortfalls, teacher compensation has remained a topic of interest.
Earlier this year, contract negotiations were underway between the Albany Teachers Association and the Albany Unified School District, where almost 88 percent of the budget is spent on salaries and benefits.
At a March school board meeting, some .
These cuts were not made and, according to the AUSD 2012-13 budget, more than $8.8 million will be spent next year on employee benefits, which is about 25.5 percent of the district's planned expenditures.
At last month's school board meeting, about next year's budget and the role November elections will play on the district's revenue.
Based on the multi-year projections contained in that budget, by the 2014-15 fiscal year, the cost of employee benefits will have risen to over $9.4 million, more than 26 percent of that year's projected expenditures.
And, when compared to other California school districts with similar enrollment, Albany spends more than most on benefits.
According to the Education Data Partnership website, in the 2010-11 school year, Albany was fourth out of 15 similarly sized school districts in terms of the amount spent on employee benefits per student.
While teachers' benefits have remained the focus of debate in previous months, district officials' compensation is also a topic of interest.
According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, the average salary for a California school district superintendent in 2011 was about $159,000; that year, Albany Unified was paid $211,686.
In the remaining weeks of the summer, Albany Patch will take a look at employee compensation in AUSD, including salaries, health benefits and retirement plans.
At the moment these are our main questions:
- How do Albany teachers' compensation packages compare to other districts in California, and how have they changed in recent years?
- How will the cost of retirement benefits change in the coming years?
- What compensation do district officials like the superintendent receive, and how have they changed in recent years?
- What effect will the continuation of full employee health benefits have on the district in the coming years?
We don't know where our investigation will lead us, or if we will find anything of significance, but we are requesting help from Albany Patch readers.
Give us your suggestions, questions and opinions about the issue of AUSD employee compensation in the comments below.
We invite you to join us as we explore this issue in the coming weeks, and we hope by the end of August to have shed some light on one of the most controversial topics in the school district.
If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.