Research shows Seattle School District pays some of the highest teacher salaries in the state – average salary + benefits tops $90K
This morning, Linda Shaw of The Seattle Times provides an informative report on the threatened Seattle schools strike by union executives over contract negotiations with the school district. One of the issues in contention is the cost of teacher compensation, described as follows:
“Under the school district’s offer, she said [School Board member Shelley Carr], Seattle teachers would remain some of the most highly paid in the state.”
I can add some research detail. Table 19 of the state’s Personnel Summary Reports (see under Publications) confirms that the Seattle School District pays some of the highest teacher salaries in the state. In 2012-13, Seattle teachers made, on average, total salaries of $69,590. Health benefits and pensions add another 30% to what teachers receive. Average total compensation is $90,467 for a 10-month year. Median household income for Washington taxpayers is about $56,000.
The district’s offer to teachers includes another 5.3% salary increase over the next two years. Possible cost increases in benefits and pensions are unknown. Public spending decisions involving the union occur in secret. Matters discussed by District officials and union executives take place in closed-door meetings and are not available to the public.
School board member Kay Smith-Blum told me today:
"We are working diligently to avoid a strike. Our SPS teacher are in the top 1% of pay in the State already, having had over a 17% increase in the last 5 years. Our current proposal offers a 2% raise for [each of] two years, plus restoration of the 1.3% cut the last two years, in the form of furloughs."
Secret talks continue. What we do know is the District will pay more in teacher compensation under the new contract than it pays now. Union executives say if their demands are not met they will order a strike and close schools. As the adults argue, Seattle's children don't know whether they will be allowed into their classrooms when the school year starts September 4th.