Friday, November 22, 2002


Here's what Omaha-area tax activist Joe Elster has to say about the salary puzzle in public schools:

"In reference to the Nov 22 Public Pulse letter by Andrew J. Melichar, he states that he is 'frustrated' with the anti-tax groups trying to help the board to run more effectively thus saving taxpayers money. I am not sure where the figures he quoted came from (and they may be accurate). Let us compare them to the OPS Budget and see where the waste is.

"Mr. Melichar states that teachers earn an average of $32,000 per year (he doesn't mention if this includes benefits). From the OPS budget total combined salaries for ALL employees is $212,517,633 plus benefits of $61,329,040. There are 6002.93 positions budgeted. When you do the math, it comes out to just over $45,000 per year per position.

"So if the TEACHERS average $32,000 per year then you can decide for yourself where the 'fat' is.

"When you take the total budgeted amount for Certificated, Full-Time, 10-month positions, and divide by the number of positions, the amount you get (not including benefits) is a little over $40,000. And this does not include over $4 million dollars in 'Extra Pay'.

"So, 'annoying' as it is, there are plenty of places to cut money from the budget while still maintaining a higher teacher salary.

(Figures from p. 56, http://www.ops.org/budget/budget.pdf)

Joseph Elster

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