Do new teachers cost $90,000?

A fellow named Mike Switaer made a comment on today’s Trib story which was hidden because a lot of readers said they didn’t like it.

“so each full time position is $90000? most teachers I know don’t make that. I know “benifets” are added but the city and PERA are arguing now that city of duluth employees should not have medical benifits included as part of their payroll package, at least not when figuring retirement amounts.”

Only 6 people “liked” the comment and 18 “disliked” it when I viewed the online comment section.

Who in the hell would have disliked the comment? It was better than a comment. It was a question. Don’t we learn from our teachers something like, “there is no such thing as a stupid question”? It wasn’t a snide question or a smart ass question. It seemed to be pretty genuine and I couldn’t help noticing it because I’d done the same math after reading the story. 6.6 teachers divided into $6 million dollars is a bit more than $90,000 per teacher.

When I started on the Board 16 not terribly inflationary years ago new teachers were being paid about $54,000 a year. I seem to recall that that was both salary and benefits. Six or seven years into my 8 year tenure on the board I used that figure in a little back room calculating and was told the figure was terribly outdated. It was closer to $65,000 or more.

I know the District has been relatively profligate under the awful fiscal circumstances in recent teacher negotiations but even so $90,000 does seen like rather a lot for a new teacher.

I suspect that the teachers hired back will not be “new” teachers so much as laid off teachers whose salaries are fixed above that of a first year teacher. I’m not sure what the average cost of a new teacher is anymore but things have changed. Sixteen years ago I could make a simple calculation that a million dollars would get us about 20 new teachers. Today it appears the same one million would barely hire ten.

By the way, Mr. Switaer, Thank you for not hiding your identity. Thank you for posting a non-snide post. Thank you for asking a reasonable question. I apologize for the 16 people who have swept you under the carpet. Let me welcome you under rug with the rest of us dust mites who have raised embarrassing questions.

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