What is fair in Covid-19 times? School districts across the US will be feeling the constraints of budgets in the coming school year. When faced with financial strife, responsible corporations lookout for the entire company. This means that executives often will make cuts to their own salaries and benefits to weather the proverbial storm. This enables those companies to provide increases to their employees in lieu of their own pay increases. Parents in our district are feeling the value of the gifts teachers bring to their children’s lives, now more than ever.
This coming fiscal year, our district is looking to give a percentage raise to district administration as well as the teachers. Let’s say the school district is considering a raise of 2% that would translate to this. A teacher making $50,000 will have an increase of $1,000. An administrator making $300,000 will have a $6,000 increase. While either of these are within an average cost of living raise, this might be a time to consider having the teachers raise be more substantial. The teachers in our district have long been underpaid.
In comparing school district administration salaries, we reviewed the salary of The Conjeo Valley Unified School District. The district, which includes Westlake Village, just extended the contract of its superintendent through 2024 with an annual salary of $245,603 + benefits. CVUSD has a reported 18,733 students. Hence, this superintendent is paid $13.11 per student.
With 14,355 students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, our current superintendent, Cary Matsuoka’s most recent salary reporting is $303,650.62 + benefits per year. His pay is then $21.15 per student. (These details were extracted from Transparent California).
Additionally, the Santa Barbara School District, with fewer enrolled students than CVUSD, has five superintendents to CVUSD’s four superintendents. Our district has the recent departure of Raul Ramirez from his role of Assistant Superintendent. Is it necessary at this time to replace his position? Do we really need five assistant superintendents? Dr. Ramirez’ annual pay was $203,223.34 + benefits. Perhaps the money allocated for that position’s salary should be applied to raises for teachers in our district. This combined with the money that would otherwise be distributed for senior district administration raises would direct a substantial amount of money for raises to our teachers.
Parents tend to prefer that teachers expend their professional energies on the students enrolled. If teachers have to work several jobs to make ends meet, this creates an imbalance in their lives. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if basic physiological needs are difficult to meet, it brings undue stress. If basic needs aren’t met, it makes it more of a challenge to meet higher needs in the hierarchy.
In April of 2017, Dick Startz wrote an op-ed on the topic of giving more to our valued teachers. He discusses the idea that paying teachers more will not only benefit them but also the rest of us. A simple raise for just the teachers this year seems like a legitimate request. They are, after all, educating our future leaders.