TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma teachers sure get mad a lot.
In September 2011, they preempted the start of the school year with a 10-day strike. They were upset that the district, in the midst of a budget crises caused by the Great Recession, wanted to cut some teacher salaries, which would probably have prevented the layoffs of some younger teachers.
In September, 2015 they staged a “grade-in” to protest the state legislature’s failure to provide more funds for public schools, and therefore their salaries. The met in a public plaza with “stacks of papers to grade, highlighting the amount of work they do outside of school hours,” according to KNKX.org.
Considering their history, it’s pretty clear that Tacoma teachers will strike again – or at least threaten to do so, perhaps when their latest union contract expires and they need leverage at the bargaining table.
When that occurs, they are sure to moan to the media and public about being overworked, underpaid and underappreciated.
Before that time rolls around again, the people of Tacoma should know how much the school district really invests in the teachers.
In the 2015-16 school year, 2,029 Tacoma teachers were paid a total of $146,599,895. That equals an average salary of $72,252 – without all the extras added on.
The district also made $19,131,831 in retirement contributions on behalf of the teachers, which averages out to $9,429 per teacher.
That means the average teacher compensation package – with benefits and retirement added in, came to at least $101,762.
In 2014-15, teacher Patricia Albert made $95,344 in straight salary, $19,380 in benefits, and the district made a $12,519 retirement contribution on her behalf. That totals $127,243 in total compensation (not counting other extras that teachers typically receive).
Assuming that Tacoma teachers work a pretty normal 185-day year and an eight-hour day, that comes out to about $687 per day and about $85 per hour.
Benefits also bloated the total compensation for Superintendent Carlos Santorno in 2015-16.
He made $291,519 in wages, received $27,578 worth of benefits, and the district made a $32,340 retirement contribution on his behalf. That means the superintendent’s compensation package was at least $351,437 – $59,918 more than his regular salary.
For most Americans, that’s not the type of compensation you protest about.