Few would argue that teachers are well paid. But because their pay and benefits make up more than half of a school district’s budget, and because those budgets are shrinking, compensation and staffing levels have become a sticking point in school systems around the state.
Given the current funding constraints and the grim fiscal outlook, what should school districts do? What are they doing? How are labor unions responding?
I spent months collecting data from East Bay school districts to find out. I analyzed the salary/staffing dilemma — as well as the gap the state budget cuts are threatening to widen — in two stories that appeared in Sunday’s paper. You can find a spreadsheet of East Bay school districts’ decisions on these issues here.
Note: At the beginning of the main story, I wrote that California schools are funded way below the national average ($2,500 less per student), but that its teachers are the highest-paid. I included those figures to illustrate the budget challenge facing California schools, not to suggest that our teachers are rolling in the dough. (When I moved from the Midwest to Oakland, my rent doubled. I know it costs more to live here than in other parts of the country.)