As someone who attended a public school growing up and worked as a substitute teacher at a public school for a year, I certainly recognize the value of public education. Education spending will always be a priority in our state.
However, just because education is important doesn’t mean that we can’t at least look for ways to get rid of waste within education and spend money more efficiently within education. One area of waste that I’ve identified within public education is administrative salaries. In recent years, administrators in our state have been receiving 9%, 10%, and sometimes even higher percentage increases, while teachers have only been receiving 2% or 3% pay increases. Administrative salaries in many areas of our state are well in excess of $100,000, and sometimes in excess of $200,000. In my opinion, this is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars as well as unfair to teachers, who receive far smaller pay increases and make far less money than administrators.
Therefore, I’m proposing that we put a cap in place of $100,000 per administrator per school in our state. That number would then be indexed to inflation going forward. Another idea that the state legislature could look at implementing would be to tie increases in pay for administrators to increases in pay for teachers. For instance, if the teachers in a particular school district received a 2% pay increase in a given year, that school district couldn’t give administrators any larger than a 2% pay increase. This is the policy that they have in St. John, as administrators and teachers receive the same percentage pay increase each year. I think that could serve as a model for the rest of the state.
Some people may argue that what I’m proposing would violate the principle of local control. However, most of the money that’s spent on education comes from state taxpayer dollars. The amount of money that’s spent on education that comes from local property taxes is well below 50% of the total education budget. Since the majority of the money that’s spent on education comes from state taxpayer dollars, I don’t see any reason why the state legislature can’t have more of a say in how education dollars are spent. Under my proposal, the vast majority of spending decisions within education would still be made by local school boards, but the state legislature would be involved in putting some caps in place. At the very least, I think the state legislature should look into this idea and hold hearings on it.
To be clear, I have a lot of respect for the principals and superintendents in our state. They’re intelligent, well educated people who have the goal of improving our state’s schools. However, I just believe it’s unfair that administrators have been receiving far larger pay increases than what teachers have been receiving.
My proposal would help improve public education in our state, as it would result in more money going directly into the classroom where it’s actually needed, and it would result in teachers getting paid more.