Here are some comments and letters circulating in the media: budget cuts to local schools. updated_003

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From Whitman County Gazette, Colfax WA


Editorial 5/12/11

Schools: First in, last out?

It is a tough time for rural Whitman County schools. Between declining enrollments and state cutbacks, it may get even tougher. Small, local schools are finding they can no longer operate as they have in the past.

Click here and scroll down the page to read Opinion in its entirety.


From the Colville Statesman-Examiner, Colville WA

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Local schools deal with budget issues

Superintendents send out pink slips

As Washington state legisla­tors continue to dawdle in get­ting a state budget completed, local school district superinten­dents have been forced to esti­mate how much they would have to cut staff to fit in with likely reductions to the state funding of public schools.

Click here to read the article.


An Open Letter to Bill Gates ...



written by Anthony Cody, who taught science for 18 years in inner-city Oakland.


Dear Mr. Gates,

I am writing to you because you have been getting a great deal of attention for your ideas about education, and from my perspective here on the ground in an impoverished urban district, I think you might be making some mistakes.

I read your recent commentary in the Washington Post (How Teacher Development Could Revolutionize Our Schools), and reports from your presentation to governors, where you advised them to raise class sizes in the rooms of the most effective teachers.

For the rest of the article, click here.


Which teachers deserve the most pay?

Teachers in Washington are bracing themselves for state cuts to education that could hit them in the paycheck.

Legislators are looking at freezing or reducing the money given to local school districts to pay teachers. A Senate budget proposal calls for a 3 percent pay reduction.

Lawmakers also are discussing cutting the bonuses teachers receive for completing National Board Certification.

Both measures would help close a projected state deficit of more than $5 billion over the next two-year budget cycle, but they are a long way from being adopted in the 30-day budget-focused special session.


Teacher Salary Discrepencies

Recently, a local TV morning show reported that some teachers' salaries were in excess of $130,000. On their website is a link to a Tacoma-based newspaper which lists all Washington State school employees salaries. OSPI is referenced as the data source, which is most likely the S275 Personnel database, available online.

After further investigation, we discovered the following:

  • The data is based on preliminary 2010-2011 salary data, which is the first "cut" submitted by school districts to OSPI in October. OSPI then conducts a reconciliation process with the school districts to ensure accuracy. Although districts may have updated and corrected their 2010-2011 data at the local level, OSPI has not posted an update online.

We discovered at least one glaring data entry error -- a teacher's aide in Kennewick was reported with a 2010-2011 salary of $169,784. Last year the salary was $16,978.

The newspaper has neglected to follow up with the most current (and corrected) data from OSPI, resulting in very misleading information.

OSPI does publish the Salary Allocation Schedule for certificated instructional staff (teachers), where the highest base pay for 2010-11 is $64,174 after 16 years of service and holding a Masters Degree with 90 additional credits, or a PhD.This schedule is for "allocating" salary dollars to districts, while the majority of districts in Washington have bargained this schedule locally.

In following up, we contacted the Executive Producer of the TV program and they responded as follows:

"It was brought to our attention that the story may have been incorrect, so we double-checked with the Central Valley School District (the erroneous information was related to the CV district) and we corrected it in that night's 5, 6 and 11pm newscasts."


CEO pay in 2010 jumped an average of 11 percent. (From The Wall Street Journal (5/9/11))

The average salary + annual bonuses + incentive awards for CEOs of 350 major companies is now $9.3 million.

The big CEO winners? Phillippe Dauman of Viacom ($84,328,309/150% increase). John Lundgren, Stanley Black and Decker ($32,154,458/252% increase). Brian Roberts of Comcast ($24,950,098/13%). Robert Iger, Disney ($27,219,051/31%). James Dimon, JPMorganChase ($23,000,000/51%).

Clearly, for at least 350 major companies, the “Great Recession” is now a fading memory. The bailout of billions and billions of dollars by the Federal Government in 2008 and 2009 has allowed CEOs around the country to recover nicely.

Imagine what it would mean to educators and public education in Washington if they received an 11 percent pay increase this year. Instead, we’re facing the possibility of anywhere from 1.9% to 3.0% in pay cuts. Where’s the recovery in that?

This is not about resentment of successful business people -- but more a question of where do our priorities currently lie? Public Education is and should be a priority for our future existence as an entire nation.