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Thread: Salaries

  1. #1
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    Default Salaries

    I was about to reply to a post on the thread about co-curriculars, when I realized how far off topic we were getting.
    While I will undoubtedly have more to say on that topic, I have quoted Jeff Dieffenbach's last post here with my question below it, as a starting point for a new discussion about salaries, something all of us pay for but few of us have any idea how they are determined.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The principal salary of $97,650 is the amount that would have been budgeted for Sue Abrams' replacement had the School Committee opted to remain with 3 schools for the 2008-2009 school year.

    I don't know which of the staff members currently holding the positions listed here will (a) move to other positions in the district (replacing retirees), (b) move to a position elsewhere, or (c) be laid off.
    I'm curious to know how this figure was determined.
    It looks like it's $15,000 less than the existing (outgoing) principal's salary.
    (Click on this link to see a list of Wayland School Administrative Salaries, http://waylandtransparency.com/schoo...Salaries08.htm)

    Even though this position won't be filled, it would be helpful to use this as an example in order to understand how these salaries are determined.

    Thanks.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    When an administrator or teacher departs, it's common practice in many (but not all) cases to budget for a lower salary for the replacement. The actual amount budgeted depends on market conditions, expected incoming experience, and other factors.

    Perhaps there's a rigorous way to arrive at the new number, but my sense is that it's an estimate that evens out over multiple positions.

  3. #3
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    It certainly makes sense that the replacement's salary would be less.

    Who decides what the salary will be and how is this figure determined?
    When you say market conditions, how do you go about comparing it to others or determining exactly what the market conditions are? Also, what are the "other factors" to which you refer?

    Thanks.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Following your lead, my post below responds to yours from the co-curriculars thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    I don't understand.
    I thought there would be no layoffs with this 2 1/2 school model.

    Yet there seem to be several listed here.
    Who are these people?
    Where is this savings coming from?
    The only one that is clear is Sue Abrams' salary.
    Surely people moving to other positions in the district can't be counted as a savings.
    Please give us a specific breakdown.

    Thanks.
    I don't recall anyone saying that there would not be layoffs. I don't know if there will be any or not--that depends on retirements and other departures. I don't have a specific breakdown of who is going where at this point, nor do I have any interest in getting into matters relating to individual teaching positions.

    The savings listed in the 1/11 consolidation document are net savings. They may be the result of a person retiring (for instance, in the case of the Principal), or they may be the result of a departure elsewhere in the system being filled by the person whose position is listed in the 1/11 document. They would not be counted as a savings if the person went elsewhere in the district to create a "new" position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    It certainly makes sense that the replacement's salary would be less.

    Who decides what the salary will be and how is this figure determined?
    When you say market conditions, how do you go about comparing it to others or determining exactly what the market conditions are? Also, what are the "other factors" to which you refer?

    Thanks.
    In the case of a teacher, their experience determines where on the salary schedule they are placed, thereby setting their salary.

    In the case of an administrator or other non-union employee, the new salary is determined by some combination of the administrators (likely but not necessarily including the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent). Note that the Assistant Superintendent wears two hats: that of head of curriculum as well as head of personnel.

    For administrative positions, the regional collaborative of which we are a part (TEC, for The Educational Collaborative) is able to provide salaries for its 16 member districts.

    I don't know that there are necessarily other factors, I was just allowing for them. I should have written "perhaps other factors."

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    Thanks.
    I'm not even going to discuss teachers' salaries.
    It's hard to imagine any teacher being overpaid. We pay our teachers about 15% more than the national average and it's worth every penny of it.
    Teachers are to me what Ultimate Frisbee is to you - untouchable.

    Administrators, on the other hand...

    When you say the TEC "is able to provide salaries for its 16 member districts."...what does that mean?
    Do they advise us or do they actually set the salaries for us?
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Thanks.
    I'm not even going to discuss teachers' salaries.
    It's hard to imagine any teacher being overpaid. We pay our teachers about 15% more than the national average and it's worth every penny of it.
    Teachers are to me what Ultimate Frisbee is to you - untouchable.
    Of course, I've never come even remotely close to saying or even thinking such a thing. So, I wonder why you'd say that. Do you really think it? Are you slinging mud? Or are you just trying to see if I'd take the bait? Well, if the latter, you go me.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Administrators, on the other hand...

    When you say the TEC "is able to provide salaries for its 16 member districts."...what does that mean?
    Do they advise us or do they actually set the salaries for us?
    Neither. TEC is able to provide a list of salaries for TEC districts.

    Is it all administrators that you don't value, certain administrative positions, or just certain Wayland administrators?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Of course, I've never come even remotely close to saying or even thinking such a thing. So, I wonder why you'd say that. Do you really think it? Are you slinging mud? Or are you just trying to see if I'd take the bait? Well, if the latter, you go me.



    Neither. TEC is able to provide a list of salaries for TEC districts.

    Is it all administrators that you don't value, certain administrative positions, or just certain Wayland administrators?
    c'mon, Jeff. Lighten up!
    I'm just making a light-hearted reference to the fact that you value Ultimate Frisbee more than I do.

    As to administrators, it's not that I don't value them.
    Of course we need them - like soldiers need generals, like hospital administrators need doctors, and like CEOs need workers.

    But as with most of these other examples, they're overpaid for what they do, especially when compared to the teachers.

    How was our Superintendent's $170,000 salary arrived at?
    Why does the town provide him a car?
    Who pays for the gas and the upkeep of the car?

    Compared to the 15% more than the national average that we pay our teachers, it seems that we pay our superintendent 55% - 125% more than the national average for superintendents. Is that right?

    Salary.com lists the Median salary for sups as $74,733.
    The American Association of School Administrators lists the mean as $109,245. We pay ours $170,000.

    I really don't mean to be picking on Dr. Burton.

    It's just that you've closed a school.
    So, that tells me that we're in a financial crisis and we need to leave no stone unturned when it comes to saving money.
    Please remember that you'd never heard of me before this move to close Loker, and undoubtedly you never would have. I've never been an "in your face" type of person and would never have dreamed of doing things like scrutinizing the superintendent's salary, if it weren't for this crisis.

    But, when I see:
    We pay a larger % of our school budget for Administration than any of our peer communities. (source DOE website)
    The % of our Administrative costs have been going up in recent years, compared to many of our peers, where that % is going down. (source DOE website)
    $170,000 per year for Superintendent salary
    $127,000 per year for Assistant Superintendent
    $9000 for ski lift tickets for the ski team every year until it came to light this year, and which the SC claims to not even have been aware of. (If you're asking the voters for overrides, shouldn't you have a better idea of how our current budget is being spent? You've stated publicly that you can't examine every single line item, but $9000 is not insignificant. It seems to me that if you're contemplating closing a school to save $300,000, you'd want to look at and see justification for any expense over $1000.)
    $8000 for a technology study that basically told us what we already knew from our internal technology audit, (and which we probably could have done for free using some of the many talented professionals in town as volunteers - or by simply making a few phone calls to our peer communities to pick up some tips from them on technology upgrades)
    This all makes me think that maybe there is some fat to cut after all.

    As I've already told you, I voted for this and every other override since moving to Wayland some years ago. I have no problem with that.
    But it seems that we are not doing the best we can in our fiduciary responsibility before going to the voters asking for an override.
    Even if we were, we may still need an override, but it might be a significantly smaller one than it would be otherwise - maybe even enough that we wouldn't be tempted to close a school to assure its passage.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    I'm not ignoring the question of administrative cost, but something doesn't add up. The Department of Education report lists Wayland's total FY07 "Administration" expenses as $2,127,973 (select "2007" as Year and "Administration" as Function).

    According to another page on the DOE site, "Administration" consists of "Activities which have as their purpose the general direction, execution, and control of the affairs of the school district that are system wide and not confined to one school, subject, or narrow phase of school activity."

    In our FY2009 Budget Book (page 5), we report "Policy & Administration" (among a number of items aligned to the DOE categories) as $849,885, considerably less than the DOE number.

    I'm in the process of trying to understand the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'm not ignoring the question of administrative cost, but something doesn't add up. The Department of Education report lists Wayland's total FY07 "Administration" expenses as $2,127,973 (select "2007" as Year and "Administration" as Function).

    According to another page on the DOE site, "Administration" consists of "Activities which have as their purpose the general direction, execution, and control of the affairs of the school district that are system wide and not confined to one school, subject, or narrow phase of school activity."

    In our FY2009 Budget Book (page 5), we report "Policy & Administration" (among a number of items aligned to the DOE categories) as $849,885, considerably less than the DOE number.

    I'm in the process of trying to understand the difference.
    it seems to me that unless the DOE has it wrong, and is comparing apples to oranges by using different crieteria as they compare one town to another, which seems doubtful, then however WE want to define it is irrelevant, because we still spend a greater % of our budget on Administrative costs AND the % we're spending on it is going up instead of down, compared to our peer communities.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    With the new accounting system implemented by the municipal Finance Department, we redefined our budget categories (including "Administration") to be in accordance with guidelines from DOE. So, the discrepancy isn't a case of our defining something how "we want to."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    With the new accounting system implemented by the municipal Finance Department, we redefined our budget categories (including "Administration") to be in accordance with guidelines from DOE. So, the discrepancy isn't a case of our defining something how "we want to."
    Whatever.

    The point is we still spend a greater % of our budget on Administrative costs AND the % we're spending on it is going up instead of down, compared to our peer communities.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    "Whatever" isn't exactly the most respectful of ways to engage with someone who's trying to be responsive to your queries.

    As you pointed out, there are several reasons why DOE's number for Administration might be nearly twice the number that we submitted to them, including error on their part or different definition on our part. While I look into the former, I was attempting to rule out the latter (hardly worthy of "whatever").

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    "Whatever" isn't exactly the most respectful of ways to engage with someone who's trying to be responsive to your queries.
    I wasn't looking for the most respectful way to engage with someone who's trying to be responsive to my queries.

    Nor was I trying to insult you.

    Rather, I was looking to keep us focused on the subject at hand.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  15. #15
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    Regarding whether or not I was addressing the subject at hand, you wrote.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    it seems to me that unless the DOE has it wrong, and is comparing apples to oranges by using different crieteria as they compare one town to another, which seems doubtful, then however WE want to define it is irrelevant, because we still spend a greater % of our budget on Administrative costs AND the % we're spending on it is going up instead of down, compared to our peer communities.
    I directly addressed your "at hand" point about our definition. Hardly worthy of a "whatever." Perhaps before you so cavalierly and insultingly dismiss what others have written, you take a moment to review the prior posts, including your own.

    In any event, the choice about how you conduct yourself in public is certainly yours. If "whatever" works for you instead of the more civil "I don't think that you've addressed my point," so be it.

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