Peer Salary Comparisons

Post date: Dec 12, 2012 3:40:53 PM

This fall the district's Executive Director of Human Resources, Chuck McCauley, collected the salary schedule information from our traditional peer group of schools: Enid, Jenks, Mustang, Owasso, Ponca City, Sand Springs, Stillwater, and Yukon. The BEA Chief Negotiator, Granger Meador, analyzed the data and reported back to the DIstrict Compensation Committee, which considers compensation changes for all district employees as part of the district's annual budget process. That committee is formed of ESC administrators, school board members, and Mr. Meador representing certified employees through the BEA and Robert Snellgrove representing classified employees through the BECPO. The District Budget Committee, an enlarged group incorporating more ESC and site administrators, is slated begin meeting in February and traditionally recommends a budget to the Board of Education for action in early June.

IMPROVING ON THE HIGH END, BUT LOSING GROUND ELSEWHERE

For some time our schedules have started out well against our peers but steadily lost ground at higher steps. So in 2009-2010 the step increases for steps 21-25 were boosted from $425 to $625 per step. State funding losses prevented us from making headway for a couple of years, but for 2012-2013 the same $200 boost was provided for steps 17-21. For example, in 2012-2013 those moving onto step 17 saw a step increase plus another $200, those on 18 a step plus $400, those on 19 a step plus $600, and those on steps 20-25 a step plus $800.

The chart below provides a snapshot of those changes have impacted how we fare against the average salaries of the peer districts at various points in the bachelors and masters schedules. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

You can see that our masters schedule is still in decent shape up through step 25 where it ends, but our bachelors schedule needs more help across the board.

Below is a graphical view of our schedule with its various degree and degree plus lanes, with the bachelors (no plus) peer average and masters (no plus) peer averages superimposed. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

WHY ARE WE LOWER IN AVERAGE PAY?

The primary reason is that we have fewer students per teacher overall. Our district has prioritized keeping class sizes down, particularly in the elementary schools.

The chart at right shows the numbers of students divided by the number of classroom teachers (both regular and special education) for the districts from the latest statewide Profiles 2011 reports. Our level was only 84% of the peer average, and our average teacher loads would have had to increase almost 20% to reach the peer average.

A consequence of having more teachers on staff, with lower class sizes, is that there is less money available for salaries.

COMPARISONS PEER-BY-PEER

Below is a chart showing how we stack up at various locations in the bachelors and masters schedules against each of the peers as well as the peer average. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

Next are graphical views of our schedule compared with the peers and the peer average. First is the BS schedule. 52% of our teachers are on this lane, with another 13% on BS+15. (Click image to enlarge.)

Next is a graphical view of our MS schedule. 28% of our teachers are on this lane, with another 7% on MS+15, MS+30, or MS+45.

Last is a graphical view of our DR schedule, but only 1% of our teachers are on this lane.

LAST YEAR'S CERTIFIED STEP INCREASE AND SALARY RAISE COST THE DISTRICT NOTHING OVERALL

Board President Doug Divelbiss has graciously been analyzing attrition savings for teachers for several years. This is important to our budget projections since as teachers retire and are replaced with teachers of less experience that compensates for the projected cost of step increases. Mr. Divelbiss had previously found the 2011-12 certified attrition savings fully paid for the certified step increase in 2011-12 for those on steps 0-24. This year's analysis showed that the 2012-13 certified attrition savings of $408,114 more than paid for both the step increase AND the increases for steps 17-25, which was budgeted at $359,339. The rolling four-year average for certified attrition savings increases from $164,000 to $224,000 for 2013-2014 budgeting, so we are capturing those savings in our budgeting over time.

WHAT'S NEXT?

We are very much dependent on state funding improvements to provide salary increases, but we can certainly expect a normal step increase for 2013-2014. Mr. Meador expects we will have an overall salary increase as well to help us be more competitive with our peers. This will likely be driven in part by the district's long-term goal of increasing the teacher work day by 15 minutes to conform to what almost all of our peers have. The BEA's position, based on teacher feedback in previous surveys, is that salaries must rise overall above and beyond a step increase to justify an increase in the work day. So, if state funding goes well, a "grand compromise" could be in the works where we see an overall raise for teachers but also a slight increase in the work day to the peer norm of 7 hours 30 minutes.

The healthy fund balance lends this sense of optimism, but there are looming threats. If the federal government does not reach a compromise on the sequestration requirements of current law, there will be massive cuts in Title I and other federal dollars to schools. Also, while state legislators are promising more funding for common education in the 2013 session, they are also promising there will be "strings attached." There is some speculation that the new TLE appraisal system might be linked to funding for salary increases, but nothing definitive has come forth from state leaders.

-Granger Meador, BEA Chief Negotiator

December 12, 2012