|Forehead sticker = dignity.|
I guess what concerned Glenn here is that if you compare teacher total compensation numbers and median Sierra Madre resident income, it makes things look less favorable for those claims of educator impoverishment being made by the United Teachers of Pasadena. Adding benefits such as health care and retirement to base teacher salaries, and then comparing that to just the median income of mostly private sector folks in a community served by the PUSD, didn't cut it in his eyes.
Of course, the assumption Glenn makes is that privately employed residents have things such as premium health benefit packages and CalPERS-style retirement accounts, and I was deliberately leaving those inconvenient facts out of the mix. Trust me, a lot of people do not have those things.
So anyhow, lets say I disagree. After all, PUSD total compensation all comes out of the very same pockets. As such it is all taxpayer funded income, no matter what bucket you happen to stick it in.
As you know, statistically average income is the sum of all records divided by the number of them, while median income is the exact middle if these records were to be put into a numerical order. I thought that is worth mentioning.
All of that said, I have generously decided to play along. This is how the conversation could have gone down had I originally played it by Glenn Mitchell's rules. First, here is PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald's assessment of what the typical senior Pasadena Unified teacher is pulling down, and why a teacher strike would be unjustified. It is taken from an article posted on the Pasadena Now website (link):
McDonald added, “A majority (58 percent) of our teachers earn an average of $107,233 in total compensation, including salary, district-paid health care benefits, and district-paid retirement contributions. The annual salary of these senior teachers is $85,450, the average district cost per teacher for health care is $12,614, and the district-paid retirement contribution for that salary level is $9,169.
The figure we will be using here today is that $85,450 annual (not average as Glenn assumed) senior teacher salary number cited by McDonald. We are subtracting the $12,614 average health care and $9,169 retirement figures from the mix as requested.
Next up is the somewhat questionable claim of economic hardship and potential displacement made by a group of UTP teachers employed at the Sierra Madre Elementary School. This is taken from their recent letter to Pasadena Now (link).
We find it demeaning and disheartening to continue to protest for this salary increase that will enable us to live in a community that we work in. Without this raise, many of us will have to relocate to communities that are more affordable, and ones that support and value their teachers.
What these demeaned and disheartened Sierra Madre Elementary teachers apparently want you to believe is that if they do not get the salary increase they are demanding, they will be forced to quit their jobs here and move to another city. Presumably a place where they will be paid wages commensurate with their housing requirements. The assumption is that you, the targeted audience of this notice of grievance, will be shocked at so terrible a potential loss to the community.
Per the very useful Transparent California site, here is what publicly and privately employed Sierra Madre residents, people who are not necessarily UTP/PUSD teachers, are making these days (link).
Lots of interesting information to be found there. But for our purposes today the number we need to note is that $78,594 "median earnings for full-time year-round private workers" statistic, and then compare it to that $85,450 annual (not average) PUSD senior teacher salary figure cited by Superintendent McDonald.
Which means the claims certain teachers from Sierra Madre Elementary School are making about being economically squeezed out of their Sierra Madre homes might not necessarily be true. If private sector workers can somehow keep body and soul together here on median earnings of $78,594.00 a year, those aggrieved educators should be able to hold on with their $85,450.00 salaries.
Right? I think so.