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Teacher Pay: Add Your Thoughts and Questions

This summer, Albany Patch will look into the topic of teacher compensation in the Albany Unified School District, and we are asking for the help of Albany Patch readers.

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.

Share your questions, suggestions and opinions in this story's comment section, or send us an email at albany@patch.com. Read more about the school budget here.

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 albany@patch.com.

Pwll July 12, 2012 at 05:59 AM
I think that people need to remember that medical and retirement benefits are part of the teacher's salary. They're not an extra. They were agreed upon in a contract. It really worries me when I hear that people want to cut retirement benefits. The teachers, and other workers, counted on those benefits. It is a way of saving money out of their salaries. Taking them away is stealing.
Emilie Raguso July 12, 2012 at 07:00 AM
We are open to learning whatever we can about this and are more than open to all the additional questions and guidance readers can share with us. Please continue to post your ideas here. We're also open to additional online resources, historical context, suggested people to speak with, etc.
Steven Lau July 12, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Hi, Jon. Thank you for your comments. While I understand your concern about bias, I want to make clear that we are not approaching this issue with the limited perspective of asking, "Is teacher compensation in the AUSD too high?" We want to approach this objectively. And as you said, there are other factors to look at that put the bare numbers in context. We're hoping to interview district and county officials, along with teachers, and maybe even some students, and provide that context. We had to start with some basic questions/numbers, and I think you and @Alan have raised valid points. It's these kinds of discussions that will help us shape our investigation.
Ira Sharenow July 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Google search: California schools pension liability http://www.calstrs.com/Newsroom/whats_new/fs_gasb_0911c.pdf http://www.calstrsbenefits.us/blog-post/what-you-need-know-about-new-gasb-accounting-standards http://www.gasb.org/ http://www.governing.com/topics/public-workforce/pensions/pension-preparedness.html Impact on the Unfunded Liability CalSTRS uses a 7.5 percent annual rate of return to forecast earnings and discount future obligations. Based on that investment assumption, the June 30, 2011 snapshot of the CalSTRS fund’s assets and liabilities shows a $64.5 billion shortfall. http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2012/06/26/local-governments-must-report-billions-in-pension-debt/157917/ Local governments must report billions in pension debt “The balance sheets will go out of whack, particularly the school district’s,” said Marcia Fritz, president of Californians for Fiscal Responsibility, a pension reform group. “All of a sudden they are going to have this big liability.” http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/California-Pensions-the-Wave-Ahead-142245905.html http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-23/pensions-resist-accounting-rules-that-would-magnify-liability.html http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-01/california-pension-changes-face-opposition-by-brown-labor-allies.html
kamran ayyub March 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM
For me teachers Pay should be on higher side as they are building assets that will work for country in future. So giving them big will lead towards building good assets. Jobs in Pakistan http://www.rozee.pk

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