Monday, June 6, 2011

Using numbers to explain the "cut" . . .

It seems like my latest posts have been narrow in scope with budget cuts and reauthorization of ESEA being front and center. Today I’ll add one more to this narrow focus with a post on what the 1.9% “cut” would mean to someone in our system. These numbers will help you understand why I raised the fairness issue in my May 26th post.

The salaries reflect the 1.9% reduction to the person’s placement on the salary schedule that is also applied to the responsibility and mandatory components of total salary. If a person’s salary also includes extra days or stipends the reduction will also apply to them.

The following two examples apply to positions that will move an experience increment next year offsetting the 1.9% cut to the salary schedule base.  People in this situation will actually experience a raise.
     MA+45     Step 10     2010-11  $59,922     2011-12  $60,589     Gain  $667
     BA+45      Step 7       2010-11  $47,198     2011-12  $47,878     Gain  $680

The next example is at the bottom of a column and anyone in that situation will receive the full impact of the cut.
     MA+90     Step 16     2010-11  $73,947     2011-12  $72,542     Loss  $1405

The following example is from the BA+90 column where movement down in some cells will not cover the 1.9% cut.  This appears to be the case for all columns in years 0-4 and other cells where the increase from year-to-year is less than the 1.9% cut. 
     BA+ 90     Step 4      2010-11  $48,470      2011-12  $48,140     Loss  $330

What this all means is that it is situational, complex and driven by the differences in the salary schedule from cell-to-cell.  You can see the problem in the partial schedule duplicated below where percent changes from year-to-year are not the same, with some less than the 1.9% and some greater.  You can access the entire schedule here by clicking on the Staff Mix Factor, 2011 Proposals new, Legislature excel spread sheet.

So, we are left with a difficult situation.  How do we find a fair and equitable way of deciding what to do to make up for the reduced revenue when not everyone is being impacted in the same way?  In the few examples above we can see how the impact will differ depending upon experience and education.  What is fair?

Add to this the impact on those thinking about retiring in the next two years and it raises even more issues.  Is it fair to have reduced salary in the years used to calculate an individuals retirement income?  I probably need to move away from "fair" to identify creative solutions to this difficult situation because fair doesn't do it for me.  What that context might be, however, escapes me at this time.   


Scott Mitchell said...

Mike I first want to say that I am going to be careful with what I say and clarify that I am merely making some factual points and not advocating for anything in particular.

While I do not dispute your points made in your post this evening, I think it is fair to state that while staff with less than 16 years of experience will be moving down on the schedule, it is important to also state that these staff have been expecting to move up on the scale every year and therefore based on the state scale were expecting that pay. Yes some are going to have more pay next year than this year. But based on what I was supposed to make on the SAM over the next two years, overall I am losing over $2000 dollars of what I was supposed to make.

Today I got a SAM schedule with the cuts in it. You can look at your cell that you are currently in and it shows what your pay loss will be over the two year biennium that includes your movement down.

I agree Mike that making it fair for each individual may be too difficult but I know that as TEA/TSD get together to problem solve we will have to get creative and probably think outside the box. After meeting with presidents and bargainers from 12 different districts today, I have thoughts and ideas, everyone is facing this issue.

Jonathan said...

I too, like Scott, am going to be measured and careful as I respond to this post. To say your recent posts inspire some ‘cognitive dissonance’ would be an understatement. I hope to present some factual information in this response without unleashing any of my feelings.

Passed overwhelmingly by voters in November 2000, I-732 required the state to provide annual cost-of-living increases so that salaries for Washington's public school employees would keep up with inflation. The initiative came in response to years of neglect for education funding by state lawmakers, including one stretch leading up to the initiative in which public school employees were granted no salary increases four out of six years in a row.

In 2003, lawmakers suspended the inflation increases guaranteed by Initiative 732.

This means teachers have not received COLA from 2003 to the present.

Inflation has increased 23.78% since January of 2003 until April of 2011. (

April 2011’s inflation rate was 3.2%.


There is no sign of COLA returning anytime soon.

Teachers have also had two days furloughed (LID days) in 2008 and 2009 resulting in less income.

Teachers will now most likely receive another 1.9% pay cut this year from the base salary, which you correctly stated in a previous post will ripple through other compensation like our mandatory pay and retirement allocation.

Using your logic, teachers have received pay increases every single year (unless you're at the bottom of the pay scale).