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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>Teachers Pay As A Benchmark for School Rankings - EJ McMahon

Teachers Pay As A Benchmark for School Rankings - EJ McMahon

Jun 3, 2014|

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Opening up the WB analog line again our next guest as we talk about teachers' salaries EJ McMahon the jazz up the empire center for public policy. And see through NY dot org. Mr. McMahon thank you for joining us. Are you were doing OK you know teachers across New York State and around here in Western New York they earned a lot of money according to people. But we understand this is not news GO. Well. We had the the complete payrolls school districts in New York State on -- through NY dot net which is the -- Government transparency site we sponsor. 45 years now that you could look back including in the way less clear 20122013. So. You could look at that completes radiator for school districts throughout the state including New York City. On our web site he threw it -- dot net now the the report that there are. 431000. School district employees around the state -- -- 100000 more. You could that is actually the numbers 46000 but that I think that includes some state university employees who were in the same retirement system. You know New York's teachers have the highest average salaries in the country. The salaries of school personnel and you are are the main reason why school district spending in New York. Com and public school spending and -- is by far the highest in the country it's nearly 20000 dollars per pupil and that's more than 80% above the national average. And basically schools are people business so what you pay teachers and administrators. Is the main thing that determines how much it cost one public schools but you know the main public teachers' salaries is not how much teachers are paid. I think most of us in the case of we want -- -- the best possible teacher for our children. Would be happy to pay a very good teacher. A good amount of money. The main problem with the with Peter -- is not what teachers are paid in how it how they're paid. And you'll get beat them my teachers or professionals right there highly educated professionals. They have bachelor's degree and these days virtually all of them have masters degrees. But under that the way we run. Our school system teachers are basically managed and and compensated according to labor contracts. That are better suited to it -- factory and people on bolts on a car in 1958. It's all -- seniority. There's very little discretion on the part of schools. Them to reward the best teachers in the special way it's you you basically are are are compensated according to how many years you've been there. And you're compensated. You know and according to how many years should stay there. And that's basically there's there's no differentiation. Among people very little. You give us some you get a and it's salary bump if you take more graduate courses. Which may or may not be meaningful terms about the teach -- -- and of course after a few years you have ten year. And it very stiff setup procedures or for being disciplined which make it very difficult. For managers to manage in schools. Under those circumstances it's actually tribute to the best teachers that there is good as they are. Because they're not treated really any better than the worst -- And that's the main problem in the main problem is not that that that the median salaries that. In the best Erie county school district is about 80000 dollars that means that -- -- more ethnic -- or that the top paid teachers. In the best school districts and Erie county -- 90000 dollars and more which is what latest state statistics show. That's not the problem the problem is how that figures derived that and who gets that. And it doesn't distinguish between the best teachers in the worst teachers in the in different teachers it basically goes to all teachers were around long enough. And is it sustainable. Well I mean that here's the problem. And everybody tiptoe around this issue everybody complains about his boy it's the taxes here are so -- I can't stand it I'm moving it's awful -- -- this wonderful but the taxes so high. The prime source not the only source let me repeat not the only source. But one of these prime sources of our local taxes is compensation for people it working in public schools just no two ways around it. And that's not just the case downstate and the pilot most of these 100000 dollar salaries were talking about are the vast majority are in downstate New York they are. They are east of Syracuse and south of Albany the -- majority of the the median salary and in New York city's suburbs is over a 100000 dollars. As the media OK let me ask the teachers make over a 100000 that's where that figure comes from. In illustrators make over 200000. But. Even if you look at places in New York State and look at there's places that are very similar to that even in neighboring states like Pennsylvania. You'll find that your expands more and I grapples with that of a couple years ago federal statistics. Spent. Practical thirteen or 14% more per pupil that Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Which is a city demographically very very similar to enact -- -- Why was that it's because of the staffing patterns and compensation in Niagara Falls. Buffalo. Spent about 2000 dollars per pupil more than Pittsburg. Why even after a long period of time a long period of retrenchment in fiscal control. Went teachers' salaries were frozen in buffalo as we don't know for years right. Even after all that buffalo is still spending considerably more per pupil -- Pittsburgh. Now salaries are the main driver of that and again they're not the only driver there's also special atlas in New York the tribe how much respect. But we have to be willing to confront this. It's not a matter of paying people less it's paid yet it's the matter of paying the right people more. And this whole the whole controversy in Albany recently. Over teacher evaluations. Is a sort of a clumsy may be way of getting -- that ultimately which is. Teachers are very large procession and a crucial vitally important. Vijay unfortunately. We are out of time we're not a lot of questions or were out of time thank you for joining us this morning. You -- you Jim McMahon to the empire center for public policy.

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