Thursday, December 05, 2002
Tax watchdog Joe Elster had this to say in reference to a Nov. 22 World-Herald Public Pulse letter about the Omaha Public Schools tax-lid override measure that failed, written by Andrew J. Melichar and lamenting that teachers would bear the brunt of the budget cuts that seem certain to follow:
Elster: "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 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 is a total of 6002.93 positions budgeted. When you do the math, it comes out to just over $45,000 per year per position.
"So if the TEACHER portion of that is only getting an average of $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 of '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.
"All my figures were taken from the following web address: http://www.ops.org/budget/budget.pdf and are found on page 56."
Postscript: Elster notes that the $45,000 is an average and includes teachers, custodians, secretaries and administrators. He breaks it down as follows, from OPS budget figures:
Certificated Full-time 12-month Board of Education office makes over $83,000/yr.
Certificated Full-time 12-month School Administration makes over $67,000/yr.
Certificated Full-time 10-month School Administration makes over $55,000/yr.
Certificated Full-time 12-month Business/Support services makes over $76,000/yr.
Specialist/Tech 12-month Business/Support services makes over $46,000/yr.
Specialist/Tech 12-month Buildings and Grounds makes over $49,000/yr.
Certificated Full-time 12-month ESU staff makes over $60,000/yr.
Specialist/Tech 12-month ESU staff makes over $43,000/yr.
Certificated Full-time 12-month TEACHER makes over $69,000/yr.
Certificated Full-time 10-month TEACHER makes over $40,000/yr.
Classified Full-time 12-month TEACHER makes over $33,000/yr.
Classified Full-time 10-month TEACHER makes over $17,000/yr.
Certificated employees have budgeted over $4 million in "Extra Pay."
Paraprofessionals have budgeted over $14 million.
Office personnel have budgeted over $9 million.
Custodian/Maintenance have budgeted over $14 million.
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