Here’s a real-world word problem for you:
The across-the-board salary increase Oakland school district staff have built into the second half of next year’s planning budget (the raise would go into effect in January 2012) would cost about $2 million in general-purpose dollars. For a full year, of course, it’s double that amount.
What if the district tabled that idea in light of the 500-plus March 15 notices it plans to distribute? How many teaching positions could it afford to keep?
Annual cost of a 2 percent raise in OUSD: $4 million
Average teacher cost, according to HR: $73,000
That comes out to more than 54 full-time teaching positions. For the upcoming school year, it would be 27, since the raises wouldn’t start until January and therefore would cost half as much.
Of course, that doesn’t come close to the 538 jobs that could potentially be lost in Oakland’s public schools under the doomsday scenario of losing $900/student, or $30 million, in general-purpose money. (Yes, I’m told that is the scenario upon which the hundreds of March 15 notices were calculated in OUSD. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says that if the tax extension fails, and the state needs to close a $26.6 billion deficit, k-12 education will likely be cut by at least $4 billion — $700 per student — and possibly much more.)
Should the district reconsider the raises to save jobs and minimize disruption to schools and programs? At last night’s meeting, an Oakland adult ed teacher proposed furloughs for that reason. Do you agree?