Budget woes push area schools to hike...

Budget woes push area schools to hike taxes

There are 38 comments on the Valley News Dispatch story from Jul 4, 2010, titled Budget woes push area schools to hike taxes. In it, Valley News Dispatch reports that:

School districts across the state have been forced to tighten their belts this year because of shrinking revenues and ballooning costs.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Valley News Dispatch.

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Here Now

United States

#21 Jul 7, 2010
speak out wrote:
<quoted text>
If you believe that asking people why they don't become teachers is defending excess wages, then that is certainly an interesting interpretation and again evades the issue of "If the grass is so green on the other side--why not go there?"
The fact that you think that we should conclude that because about 7 or 8 people have posted their opinions(a voluntary response sample) is another interesting conclusion. If 7 people sign a petition to do "whatever" then should we conclude that their opinions represent the entire population?--obviously no
Anyone could find fault with any occupation--but once again--if teachers have it so good, then why didn't you make the choice to become one? Perhaps, you should encourage your relatives to abandon their careers and enter the perfect world of education--why not??
There are many more people that speak against teachers than speak for them in this blog. Go back through and read them. I have made my decisions in life and I will live them without asking YOU to pay for them. I take care of myself and do not go around asking someone else through a union to sacrifice to take care of me. Maybe you could take some lessons. Once again you want to atlk around the issue. Teacher pension plans are too high and are unstainable. No matter what profession I choose, that fact remains!
missing it

Latrobe, PA

#22 Jul 7, 2010
Here Now wrote:
<quoted text>
There are many more people that speak against teachers than speak for them in this blog. Go back through and read them. I have made my decisions in life and I will live them without asking YOU to pay for them. I take care of myself and do not go around asking someone else through a union to sacrifice to take care of me. Maybe you could take some lessons. Once again you want to atlk around the issue. Teacher pension plans are too high and are unstainable. No matter what profession I choose, that fact remains!
Do I agree that teacher pensions are too high --Yes
DO I believe that you need to do some additional research about conclusions? Yes

You cite the number of people in this blog that agree with "us" and act like people should be convinced by the numbers--I'm afraid you don't know how to draw conclusions. This blog is called a voluntary response sample. You obviously are uninformed about the validity of a voluntary response sample. Do a little research to become informed about it. You are in need of a statistics lesson-that is very evident. If 10,000 people call Rush Limbaugh and say
Bush was a great leader--based upon your reasoning, we should conclude that is a FACT. If 10,000 people vote in a CNN poll and 97% believe that O'Bama is a great leader--based upon your reasoning, we should conclude that is a FACT. Google "voluntary response samples", then read and learn. If 20 people respond to a blog...

Regardless, the representatives and politicians that you likely voted for were the ones that approved the pension system--so it's very likely that you are partially responsible

and by the way, my degree is in a business field not education...however if I thought that "__________" (fill in the blank) was the world's best occupation filled with joy, money and perks--I'd probably pursue that field rather than falsely draw unscientific conclusions from a message board

why did you vote for the people that approved those pension perks anyway?

my work here, and posts, is concluded
Here Now

United States

#23 Jul 7, 2010
missing it wrote:
<quoted text>
Do I agree that teacher pensions are too high --Yes
DO I believe that you need to do some additional research about conclusions? Yes
You cite the number of people in this blog that agree with "us" and act like people should be convinced by the numbers--I'm afraid you don't know how to draw conclusions. This blog is called a voluntary response sample. You obviously are uninformed about the validity of a voluntary response sample. Do a little research to become informed about it. You are in need of a statistics lesson-that is very evident. If 10,000 people call Rush Limbaugh and say
Bush was a great leader--based upon your reasoning, we should conclude that is a FACT. If 10,000 people vote in a CNN poll and 97% believe that O'Bama is a great leader--based upon your reasoning, we should conclude that is a FACT. Google "voluntary response samples", then read and learn. If 20 people respond to a blog...
Regardless, the representatives and politicians that you likely voted for were the ones that approved the pension system--so it's very likely that you are partially responsible
and by the way, my degree is in a business field not education...however if I thought that "__________" (fill in the blank) was the world's best occupation filled with joy, money and perks--I'd probably pursue that field rather than falsely draw unscientific conclusions from a message board
why did you vote for the people that approved those pension perks anyway?
my work here, and posts, is concluded
Playing word games does not change the facts. Your first statement is right. Teachers pensions are too high. They are unstainable. Put them on a 401K type plan. The teachers union bought the pension perks. They own the lawmakers. I will vote to clean house.
Panacea

Pittsburgh, PA

#24 Jul 7, 2010
Listen, education is not a panacea. You must now have a 3.0 QPA to get into a education program. New graduates are faced with a bleak job market right now. Most PA minted teachers which varies from 10 to 14,00 a year have to head south and west to find gainful employment in their respective certification, especially elem ed, social studies, English, etc.. The fact is that only one half will find jobs in PA and quite of few of those jobs are subs.

Which leads me to my next point. Typically the rule of supply and demand determines remuneration, but in the case of public education the most powerful and ruthless union in the country, PSEA has created an artificial environment that has usurped the rule of supply and demand.
Thanksalot

Irwin, PA

#25 Jul 7, 2010
I am not a teacher but I do have a 4 year degree and was hired in my field. Since I was recently hired and began looking into different options for my own retirement planning, I came across various issues regarding teacher pensions in our state. My opinion is simple, any mature adult should be able to attribute some part of their life to the expertise of a teacher. I know that I can say that and be proud. I gained much of my ability to enter a four year college institution to the great teachers at my alma mater, not my parents. It takes a community (parents, neighbors, teachers, other adults) to raise a child into a responsible citizen. With that in mind, in combination with other elements of the teacher pension crisis that hasn't been mentioned here (deferred payment decision), I do not mind paying a tax increase because I feel that it will be giving back to the people who "raised" me and gave me the ability to live a great life. One other detail that has been missed is that teachers DO pay for a part of their pension. Yes school districts and states also contribute, but school employees do contribute to the pot. If something changes and the tax increase does not cover teacher pensions, do you think the great teachers in our area are going to stay to help raise your children? No, they're going to leave and go to other states where they are better taken care of, just like you would do in any other job. If your job was in jeopardy in whatever field you work in, you would search for better offers. Let's keep the great teachers in our schools and give thanks to those who are in retirement now that we owe a lot to!
Tide does work

Latrobe, PA

#26 Jul 7, 2010
Here Now wrote:
<quoted text>
Playing word games does not change the facts. Your first statement is right. Teachers pensions are too high. They are unstainable. Put them on a 401K type plan. The teachers union bought the pension perks. They own the lawmakers. I will vote to clean house.
Hey Here Now, "Unstainable" hahahahahahaha
"Clean House" hahahahahahaha

I get it, you are a spammer for tide pre-treatment hahahahahahahaha

you accuse other posters of word games, then you do it yourself hahahahaha

clever, how clever

they "own" the lawmakers, any hidden irony in that one hahahaha
Rankings

Pittsburgh, PA

#27 Jul 8, 2010
Thanksalot wrote:
I am not a teacher but I do have a 4 year degree and was hired in my field. Since I was recently hired and began looking into different options for my own retirement planning, I came across various issues regarding teacher pensions in our state. My opinion is simple, any mature adult should be able to attribute some part of their life to the expertise of a teacher. I know that I can say that and be proud. I gained much of my ability to enter a four year college institution to the great teachers at my alma mater, not my parents. It takes a community (parents, neighbors, teachers, other adults) to raise a child into a responsible citizen. With that in mind, in combination with other elements of the teacher pension crisis that hasn't been mentioned here (deferred payment decision), I do not mind paying a tax increase because I feel that it will be giving back to the people who "raised" me and gave me the ability to live a great life. One other detail that has been missed is that teachers DO pay for a part of their pension. Yes school districts and states also contribute, but school employees do contribute to the pot. If something changes and the tax increase does not cover teacher pensions, do you think the great teachers in our area are going to stay to help raise your children? No, they're going to leave and go to other states where they are better taken care of, just like you would do in any other job. If your job was in jeopardy in whatever field you work in, you would search for better offers. Let's keep the great teachers in our schools and give thanks to those who are in retirement now that we owe a lot to!
The fact of the matter is PA teachers do not leave the Commonwealth. The employee contribution rate is on 7.5 % compared to other states where it is 10 %, the multiplier is 2.5 times years of services in Pa wher other neighboring states are 1.6, or 1.7 times years of service and no option upon retirement of taking out you own contributions. Pa ranks next to Michigan in the ratio of teacher compensation compared to the average worker, in an American Federation of Teachers study. The ratio in Pa is 1.8, thus teachers make almost twice the salary of those paying their salaries. HAve you ever heard the term, "Golden Handcuffs", very few teachers especially after 20 years of service leave their jobs in Pa.
logic and real data

Latrobe, PA

#28 Jul 8, 2010
Rankings wrote:
<quoted text>
The fact of the matter is PA teachers do not leave the Commonwealth. The employee contribution rate is on 7.5 % compared to other states where it is 10 %, the multiplier is 2.5 times years of services in Pa wher other neighboring states are 1.6, or 1.7 times years of service and no option upon retirement of taking out you own contributions. Pa ranks next to Michigan in the ratio of teacher compensation compared to the average worker, in an American Federation of Teachers study. The ratio in Pa is 1.8, thus teachers make almost twice the salary of those paying their salaries. HAve you ever heard the term, "Golden Handcuffs", very few teachers especially after 20 years of service leave their jobs in Pa.
Two small questions
Here's your chance "rankings" to see if you are merely making up data or not:
1)I'll just use a small non-randomized sample of neighboring states, please list the contribution rates of New York and Maryland
Next, when comparing teachers' salaries to "those paying their salaries":
2)Are we comparing apples to apples or apples to watermelons?
that is, you certainly aren't comparing the salaries of teachers(college graduates, bachelors, masters degrees, a few Phd's) to the salaries of the general public(dropouts, high school only, trade school, some college, bachelors, masters, Phd, etc)if so then c'mon, not even close to valid
Rankings

Pittsburgh, PA

#29 Jul 8, 2010
A review of a pension study conducted in 2006 by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reveals that only one state, Missouri, has a teacher pension system with a 2.5 multiplier similar to Pennsylvania. However, the employee contribution rate in Missouri is 10.5 %, compared to 7.5 % in the Pennsylvania. In Maryland the multiplier is 1.4 %, in Virginia 1.7%, In Ohio the multiplier is 2.2 percent with a 10% employee contribution rate but not social security payment. Michigan has a 1.6 multiplier and is adopting a new plan that is a hybrid defined contrition and traditional defined benefit plan. They claim a savings of 3 billion dollars over the next decade.
Compensation Comparisons

Pittsburgh, PA

#30 Jul 8, 2010
From Allegheny Institute:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey collects hourly pay data for an exhaustive range of occupations in metro areas around the country. We have looked at the data for the Pittsburgh CMSA (MSA plus Lawrence County) to see how teacher pay per hour stacks up against other occupations.

In March 2009, elementary and middle school teachers across the region averaged $41.56 per hour and secondary teachers $37.92. That same month the survey found that registered nurses in the metro were earning $29.70 per hour, computer programmers $35.76, electrical engineers $36.94, and accountants and auditors $25.43.

A Manhattan Institute study in 2007 found that nationally the per hour pay of teachers at $34.06 exceeded the average $25.08 hourly pay of white collar workers (excluding retail related jobs) by 36 percent, or said another way the ratio of teacher pay to white collar pay was 1.36. By comparison in the Pittsburgh metro area the ratio of teacher hourly pay to white collar pay was 1.61, far above the national average ratio. For western Pennsylvania it is outrageous to talk about teachers being underpaid compared to other occupations.

And what about the PSEA head’s assertion that teacher pay is failing to keep pace with inflation? Elementary and middle school pay in the Pittsburgh region rose 9.2 percent between January 2007 and March 2009. Clearly that two year jump far outpaced inflation over the period. What’s more, teachers have continued to get scheduled contractual raises despite a sharp downturn in the economy that has cost tens of thousand of private sector workers their jobs.
Here Now

United States

#31 Jul 8, 2010
logic and real data wrote:
<quoted text>
Two small questions
Here's your chance "rankings" to see if you are merely making up data or not:
1)I'll just use a small non-randomized sample of neighboring states, please list the contribution rates of New York and Maryland
Next, when comparing teachers' salaries to "those paying their salaries":
2)Are we comparing apples to apples or apples to watermelons?
that is, you certainly aren't comparing the salaries of teachers(college graduates, bachelors, masters degrees, a few Phd's) to the salaries of the general public(dropouts, high school only, trade school, some college, bachelors, masters, Phd, etc)if so then c'mon, not even close to valid
It does not matter what teachers are contributing to this plan. What does matter is what they are asking the public to contribute. The teachers are asking for top dollar and top benefits. This can not be paid for with raises in property taxes. Total teacher compensation must be taken into account. It is too high. It is time to change teachers to a 401K plan just as private business has already gone too. By the way, private industry went to that because they could not afford the defined benefit plan.
Compensation Comparisons

Pittsburgh, PA

#32 Jul 8, 2010
Public and Private Sector Mean Hourly Wages, by

From Dept of Labor. 24 % difference in compensation
between public and private sector in Pgh region.
Occupation
Management
Pennsylvania Private Sector Public Sector
(State & Local) Percent Difference Report Date
Philadelphia Region $37.03 $37.08 0.14% Jan-09
York Area $29.63 $33.01 11.41% Oct-08
Pittsburgh Area $29.84 $37.02 24.06% Mar-09
Reading Area $27.14 $34.83 28.33% Jan-09
Johnstown Area $22.88 $26.00 13.64% Jun-09
Service
who deserves number one

Latrobe, PA

#33 Jul 8, 2010
Compensation Comparisons wrote:
From Allegheny Institute:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey collects hourly pay data for an exhaustive range of occupations in metro areas around the country. We have looked at the data for the Pittsburgh CMSA (MSA plus Lawrence County) to see how teacher pay per hour stacks up against other occupations.
In March 2009, elementary and middle school teachers across the region averaged $41.56 per hour and secondary teachers $37.92. That same month the survey found that registered nurses in the metro were earning $29.70 per hour, computer programmers $35.76, electrical engineers $36.94, and accountants and auditors $25.43.
A Manhattan Institute study in 2007 found that nationally the per hour pay of teachers at $34.06 exceeded the average $25.08 hourly pay of white collar workers (excluding retail related jobs) by 36 percent, or said another way the ratio of teacher pay to white collar pay was 1.36. By comparison in the Pittsburgh metro area the ratio of teacher hourly pay to white collar pay was 1.61, far above the national average ratio. For western Pennsylvania it is outrageous to talk about teachers being underpaid compared to other occupations.
And what about the PSEA head’s assertion that teacher pay is failing to keep pace with inflation? Elementary and middle school pay in the Pittsburgh region rose 9.2 percent between January 2007 and March 2009. Clearly that two year jump far outpaced inflation over the period. What’s more, teachers have continued to get scheduled contractual raises despite a sharp downturn in the economy that has cost tens of thousand of private sector workers their jobs.
Who mentioned that teachers were underpaid, please copy/paste the comments?
Do you believe that all of those professions should receive equal pay?
If so, what is a fair amount? Who should make that decision?
If not, please list a fair wage for each profession? Who should make the most?
why are people voting for school board members that approve these teachers contracts? Did anyone you voted for approve these contracts?
Compensation Comparisons

Pittsburgh, PA

#34 Jul 9, 2010
First of all, market forces should determine compensation. The second factor is academic rigor. there are many occupations such as science, medicine, engineering, actuarial science that I think you would agree, where the educational requirements are far more rigorous and demanding than education, and thus merits a higher salary.

My litmus test for voting for school board members is if they received the endorsement of PSEA, and if they are related to incumbent teacher or administrators. Under those circumstances I would not vote for them.
forces

Latrobe, PA

#35 Jul 9, 2010
Have market forces led to the current salary situation?

the rigor of educational preparation is not necessarily the same, that is, mathematics, physics and chemisty teachers complete a significant number of rigorous courses and I would hypothesize that teaching students to understand a.p. physics, statistics and calculus is just as challenging, if not more,than the jobs that many of my friends(engineers) do every day. Most of them freely admit that their daily jobs are less rigorous than their high school calculus and statistics courses.
Alternative Certification

Apollo, PA

#36 Jul 10, 2010
guru wrote:
<quoted text>
Not the case,the dept head of GLSD math worked in private industry for years so there is the counterexample to disprove your hypothesis. Making blanket statements about an entire system and using a sample size of only a few or a dozen people, rather than 1000's, will generally lead to a result of "disproven."
If anything, perhaps exactly the OPPOSITE of whatyou claim is true- PA appears to be luring those same engineers into the classroom with their "alternative certification" and "guest teacher" programs. And if you were familiar with the current shortage of Physics teachers...
Anyway, many people continue to accuse teachers of having it so good, but at the same time, they manufacture reasons why they refuse to become teachers and share in the "riches." As Bo would say, "Just Do It".
This strikes me as kind of funny. At a PSEA delegate function in Harrisburg about 5 years ago this topic came up and not many school districts were willing to invoke the then 2 methods to fill positions using alternative certification. Perception was you can't teach an old dog new tricks!
Steve Johnson

Kittanning, PA

#37 Jul 10, 2010
This union is bankrupting our community. And again we should vote in all new school board members and no former teacher union members. Happy to be of service. Thank You.
State Ethics Committee

Pittsburgh, PA

#38 Jul 13, 2010
If the State Ethics Committee would do their job, you would not have the incestuous school board/district employee situation that is so prominent in western PA that affects salary negotiations and hiring policy. Public education is the third rail of PA politics.

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