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Archive for Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lawrence school salaries lag nearby districts

Free State teacher Jason Pendleton leads a discussion in his senior American government class Wednesday. Pendleton is leaving the Lawrence school district to work in the Blue Valley district, where he’ll earn about $8,000 more for teaching and coaching, he said.

Free State teacher Jason Pendleton leads a discussion in his senior American government class Wednesday. Pendleton is leaving the Lawrence school district to work in the Blue Valley district, where he’ll earn about $8,000 more for teaching and coaching, he said.

December 9, 2009

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Lawrence teacher leaving school

Jason Pendleton is headed for greener pastures. The Lawrence school teacher is leaving for Blue Valley and a salary increase. Pendleton taught and coached soccer. Enlarge video

Jason Pendleton has spent the past 11 years teaching and coaching both boys and girls soccer at Free State High. But next year, he’ll be starting from scratch at a new high school, Blue Valley Southwest.

Pendleton says the reason for the move is purely about money.

“(Lawrence is) just a tremendous place to live and work,” said Pendleton, who took the Firebirds’ boys team to the state championship game this year. “At the end of the day financially, I just felt like I had a responsibility to my family.”

Pendleton says his Free State salary for teaching is $49,995. He makes an additional $4,995 coaching boys soccer and $4,725 for coaching girls soccer.

Next year in Blue Valley, Pendleton says he will make $54,961 for teaching and another $6,400 for each season coaching boys and girls soccer.

So, he will be making an additional $8,046.

“If I want to be able to ultimately put my kids in college and help pay for it, to have a retirement and those sorts of issues … it was a financial situation that I couldn’t really pass up on,” Pendleton said.

Plus, Pendleton is looking at the long run. The highest amount of money you can make as a teacher in Lawrence schools is just under $60,000. In the Blue Valley district, it’s closer to $74,000.

Superintendent Rick Doll isn’t new to the issue of losing teachers to better pay in Johnson County. His last district in Louisburg is just south of three big districts — Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley.

“When we compare our salaries to the Johnson County schools, you are comparing them to at least the top five and at one time, top three (in the state),” Doll said. “Our salaries are above average from a statewide standpoint, but comparatively speaking, they’re not as good.”

Doll has been looking into the issue and discovered a few reasons why Lawrence might be lagging behind the districts to the east.

Johnson County used to have a special sales tax that went directly to education. While it no longer goes to school districts, it has had a lasting impact.

“That was a big chunk of money that many school districts in Johnson County used to supplement their salary schedule,” Doll said. “Many of us outside of Johnson County honestly thought that was unconstitutional.”

Doll said other factors affect the Lawrence school district’s ability to provide higher teachers’ pay. For example, the school district provides a year of salary to retired teachers split up over five years and a paid health insurance premium for seven years.

Also, Doll said, Lawrence has a neighborhood elementary school system. The average enrollment for an elementary school in Johnson County is about 450, while in Lawrence, it is 350.

“There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what Lawrence has chosen to do, but it is a much less efficient way to organize elementary schools,” Doll said.

Both Pendleton and Doll are worried that the trend of Lawrence teachers leaving for higher salaries will continue.

“It’s a concern. You have to stay competitive,” Doll said. “We don’t have to be top, but we’ve got to be in the ballpark. I think we are in the ballpark.”

Pendleton says lots of young teachers at Free State notice the discrepancy.

“I think the issue that maybe brings it closer to home for teachers to consider in our district is the high cost of living here,” Pendleton said.

While Pendleton will remain living in Lawrence, he wishes he could have also ended his career here.

“I would’ve preferred to retire from this district,” Pendleton said. “I’m leaving not because it’s a better job. It’s just a better paying job.”

Comments

farfle 4 years, 4 months ago

School is in session 180 days a year. The school day is six hours. Part time work.

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jafs 4 years, 4 months ago

If teacher 497 is really a teacher, he/she needs some help with his/her grammar.

"your numbers don't work out when you look at what the real time teachers work" is just one example.

I suppose it's not surprising that so many students are graduating from high school/college without being able to use the language correctly.

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teacher497 4 years, 4 months ago

I put the numbers together for my teaching salary of $33,000. If you subtract 8 weeks of summer from 52 weeks a year and then one more for extra days off around the holidays and spring break (when not grading or planning), one gets a total of 43 working weeks per year. Even if you lowball it and say a teacher making 33k works 50 hours per week, the per hour rate is $15 before taxes (43 x 50=2150 then 33000/2150). If you are a bit more accurate and add in summer and weekend hours and take the average to be 55 hours per week, the per hour rate goes to $13.90 per hour - before taxes. In a struggling economy, that may not sound too bad to some, but to professionals with degrees and a very important and difficult job, earning what a person with out a college degree could make is tough to swallow -especially with all demands to constantly improve all test scores and the learning environment for students, and paying for the costs it takes to keep a teaching degree.

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teacher497 4 years, 4 months ago

To "Boot 2009" and others, Thank you for trying to look at this logically or with math; however, your numbers don't work out when you look at what the real time teachers work. It's nice that someone tried to have some facts and look at it that way - giving teachers the benefit of the doubt; however, the problem is people are not aware of what all teachers do - and the actual time it takes. Plan is one hour a day, if you're lucky enough to be a high school teacher (elementary doesn't have this) and during plan you have to answer parent and other emails, attend to any IEP/504 issues, make copies, get books, file, etc and then actually plan for the day which means anything from reading to making tests to creating handouts and designing activities. It's like "work" at any office, and unfortunately, some think it is "free" time. 5 hours per week of plan time is not near enough time to do your job. Grading is done at night after school on a teacher's own time, which means no teacher works less than 50 hours a week. For the government holidays you cite, most teachers see that as a day or part of a day to grade. Teachers only get 10 paid sick days (not 12) and, of those, can use up to 3 or 5 for personal days, thus you have fewer sick days. Teachers have to have grades in by the Jan. 4th so they will be grading over the holidays. It's rude to put collaboration time in quotations like it is not a real thing. Every job has meetings, and they are a necessary part of running any company, business, or organization. Teachers also have to pay for graduate level courses and take professional development in order to keep their licenses. Teachers also start going in to their classrooms the first week of August each year and are not paid for that time needed to get ready for school to begin. The district pays for one work day in August, but that is not nearly enough time.
I’m a teacher and work from 7:30 - 4:30 each day with a 20 minute lunch and then have on average 1 1/2-3 hours of work per night. It ebbs and flows a bit, but I always have to put in at least 2-4 hours on the weekends grading and planning, if not more. Even with 2 months off in the summer, it never comes close to making up the overtime I spend working considering I’m only paid for 40 hours a week.
Lawrence does have a very low starting pay. Quite a few of teachers' children are actually on the free and reduced lunch plan. The $60,000 that Mr. Pendleton makes is not indicative of the majority of teachers. He’s worked hard for years and earned a masters along with his many hours of soccer to attain that level. He’s working well over 40, 50, 60 hours a week –especially during soccer season.
Teaching is awesome; however, it is extremely demanding. Also, it’s hard to continue working in the evenings on the weekends/holidays with out being paid for it. Regardless of the numbers, how many people would like to get paid for only ½ the hours they actually work?

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gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 4 months ago

Merrill: As usual, you totally ignored the request to provide any proof for your constant assertions that property owners with vacant properties are able to systematically avoid paying property tax. You said you read this: where?

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bd 4 years, 4 months ago

check what teachers are making out west of Larryville??? Shawnee county, Topeka????

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 4 months ago

I'd say the Free Lunch should be abolished with those funds going directly to public education academics and teaching salaries and a new vo-tech campus.... YES!

Say NO to Free Lunches http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

No more new highways because they just add miles and miles and miles of tax increases. Let's maintain what we have first.

Stop buying out the bad investments of others. Instead throw $4 million into the teaching salary pot that which would provide a quick boost to our economy.

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commuter 4 years, 4 months ago

Merrill- yes the JOCO residents have approved sales tax increases for education but DG have approved sales tax for roads, arts and the T. Which one should be repealed???

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 4 months ago

Johnson County has an Economic Growth Sales Tax. In 2005 when it was again approved by the taxpayers the largest share was devoted to the Johnson County school district.

From what I've read the taxpaying voters were fully aware of how this money was being spent. This expenditure was alive until 2008. The school district received a shot in the arm which undoubtedly provided some assistance to pay increases.

When reading it is discovered that Johnson County looks upon it's educational systems as a huge benefit in attracting economic growth. Not only does JOCO have a recognized primo public school system Johnson County Community College does attract well endowed instructors.

JOCO voters do respect education. Not only with additional funding but as we have learned over the past 5 years public school teachers are well respected.

The Economic Growth Sales tax was again approved by the voters in 2009. At least the voters do get to review this sales tax.

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 4 months ago

Salary debates about most professions seem to bring out two common themes: Everyone makes too much money (except me.) and I am an expert at the job of (teaching, policeman, etc.) and nearly all others. I'm just not an expert at my job. Teachers, police, district attorneys and any others who agree to serve the public deserve our respect. Comparing salaries from district-to-district is an interesting exercise but does not deal with the real issue. If the public wants to achieve the schools' goals as published in law and regulation, the system is seriously underfunded.

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lawrenceguy40 4 years, 4 months ago

anon - my kids are well balanced, intelligent and contributing members of society. They pay their own way and do not mooch of of their neighbors. I guess they help pay for your kids' liberal indoctrination.

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anon1958 4 years, 4 months ago

lawrenceguy40 (Anonymous) says…

" Mine were home-schooled at my expense."

Based on the ignorance cascading from your keyboard your children have my sincere and deep sympathy.

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commuter 4 years, 4 months ago

Kugrad- the studies you talk about, can you provide a link?? I am curious who commissioned the study.

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Kookamooka 4 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is TOP HEAVY with administrators, mentors, learning coaches, collaboration time. It is time to trim the fat at the top before Doll does away with the) neighborhood schools. One principal for two elementaries and assistant principal/building level supervisors on those days that the principal is at the other school.

I will seriously move my family if the neighborhood schools get consolidated into Mega-mentarys. (Like in TX and Desoto) 800 to 1000 elementary aged students in one school. A student factory. NO!

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kugrad 4 years, 4 months ago

Before you start throwing around figures about what a teacher makes and suggesting they don't work as much as "the average Joe," it is worth noting that the $49,995 teacher salary quoted would be earned by a teacher who did these things: 1) Earned a Master's degree 2) worked approx. 20 years earning less than that (starting at much less), and 3) earned at least 15 more graduate hours after earning their degree that relate to education. Now compare that salary to other fields where the employee has a Masters degree. No one complains, "Man that computer programmer makes too much money." Or, "Geez, that electrical engineer (usually making more $ with a BS degree, not even a masters) sure is overpaid. "Girlfriend, that entymologist sure is getting paid too much!" I've met PLENTY of "regular Joes" working 40 hour weeks that make as much as teachers make with a masters degree. And spare me the bull about you working 7 days a week, almost no one does that. Spare me the BS about regularly working over 40 hours per week, most people don't do that either. Almost no one in the non-salaried private sector works extra hours for no pay, so quit pretending you do. There have been studies that have shown that a teacher works more hours in a year than the average employee in the private sector. Most teachers work part of the weekend, get about 25 minutes a day per lunch, NO non-working breaks, and still work before and after school. If you are the "average Joe" who complains about teachers bitching, why don't you quit YOUR bitching. You're the one who should've paid more attention in school, maybe then you wouldn't be working such a crap job and complaining about other who actually did the WORK to get a degree and a career instead of a job.

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gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 4 months ago

"merrill (Anonymous) says… In Lawrence there are property owners that are NOT paying property taxes on new vacant property…. so I read."

Really? Where? You seem to have this odd idea that properties you do not personally like somehow systematically avoid paying property taxes. Where did you read this? Prove it. I dare you.

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average 4 years, 4 months ago

As a few other posters point out, the commute alone eats up virtually all the difference in earning. AAA puts the real cost of driving somewhere between 30 cents a mile and 55+ (if you're financing new cars semi-regularly). It may pay off later, between the benefits package and higher cap on earnings. And he may well choose to move there. For the short-term, though, he should find a carpool buddy, because otherwise he won't make much more at all once you price the commute in.

In the present economy, though, USD 497 isn't terribly concerned. Plenty of laid-off or just-graduated teachers willing to work for our base pay. And quite a few who would prefer teaching here, even for a pay cut, over the problems trying to teach in KCMO, KCK, or Topeka. That's the question the article didn't ask. "Will we have any problem at all replacing Pendleton". Probably not, though the replacement may not be as experienced. We'll muddle through.

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 4 months ago

Ok, there is only so much money...let's close down a school or two, or get rid of school bus service so we can increase teachers wages. Just how important are teachers salaries vs. the football programs? Hmmm? Yeah, I thought so.

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alm77 4 years, 4 months ago

Irish, he said he wants to send his kids to college and pay for his own retirement. It's not "greed", it's called "being responsible". He's preparing for his future so he doesn't have to borrow money for college tuition or be retired and still be eligible for food stamps and medicaid. He's paying his own way through life. That's admirable.

Also, the $8,000 might not be worth it the first year, but what are the future possibilities with this move? I'm going to guess those salaries can max out at a much higher rate where he's going than in Lawrence.

Smart man. Smart move.

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Kuku_Kansas 4 years, 4 months ago

Initially, I wasn't going to add any commentary to Coach Pendleton's personal/professional decision. But, since it was reported upon and he was quoted, it is no longer a personal affair.

I'm actually quite shocked in Coach Pendleton's decision. The State of KS is virtually bankrupt. The state is again in a budget deficit. Did last year not scare him, and other educators, at all?

School districts are, yet again, about to receive reduced and minimized allocated funding from the state. That means they will be using funding from their cash reserves. Some districts may not be able to pay personnel on time. Other districts will likely need to furlough workers or RIF employees/positions entirely.

A coach or not, he is now not tenured and lacks seniority in a very large district. Athletic budgets are not secure come budget cutting times. At least, not non-marquee sports budgets.

I would argue this was a very bold, daring decision. Hope it pays-off and proves to be worthwhile.

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Kuku_Kansas 4 years, 4 months ago

consumer1- I believe the number of building administrators is just fine. A building principal sets the vision for the building and ensures the district's initiatives are followed. He/she is accountable for the successes, and failures, of the entire building. The assistant principals generally oversee all the teacher evaluation, professional learning community/collaboration facilitation, student discipline, attendance, athletics/activities etc. The APs have very difficult jobs. Trust me, parents of students WANT as much building support as possible.

I have long argued that the "fat" lies in central offices. The Supt. of most large districts has a cabinet that is comprised of associate supts., assistant supts., deputy supts., directors, asst. directors, coordinators, supervisors. The upper echelon positions easily clear near $100,000 with stipends (keep in mind the salary reported to the public does not include stipends or any bonus).

School districts need to trim central office. Reassign/reallocate many of the central office positions back into school buildings, where the instruction/learning takes place.

I would assume most families, educators, and taxpayers would agree, no?

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consumer1 4 years, 4 months ago

PS. and not checks and balances done by the NEA. Or any other agency who has a conflict of interest. Internal investigations are a laugh.

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throwdown_wallet 4 years, 4 months ago

Greed? Instead of just wanting to "pay the rent and utilities and keep food on the table", maybe he wants to own a home, put away money for retirement and his children's college education and have a little something left over for extras. Save your "greed" talk (if you must) for people making truly obscene amounts of money. Teachers will never be in that category.

And lawrenceguy, is your last post some sort of performance art or are you really a jackass?

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consumer1 4 years, 4 months ago

How much dod renovations of Rick Dolls office cost? New Furniture? for him and his new Adminstrative assistant? New carpet? for both? How much did it cost us to make this top heavy 497 official comfortable in his new digs??? Reduce the over paid non essential top heavy staff and give the teachers more pay if they are productive, if they are not productive can them. Throwing more money at a position does not guarentee quality staff. It never has. This is a lie that has been perpetuated for years. Check and balances need to be in place to warrant more money. Why, education is a mess, who is going to take responsibility for it????? Is this where they try and put it back on the parents????

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consumer1 4 years, 4 months ago

The real shame does not lie with the teacher salaries. It lies with the Top heavy administration. Even though Doll said it was not top heavy. BS. At LHS. How many principals are there? One for each section, Then there are vice principals for each section? What what exactly does this mean? Why do we need student's divided into sections and why does each section need a High paid principal and a vice principal??? What about counsellors how many of those exist in the school system? TOP HEAVY!!

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 4 months ago

Pendleton says his Free State salary for teaching is $49,995. He makes an additional $4,995 coaching boys soccer and $4,725 for coaching girls soccer.

That is over four thousand a month. What do you spend that much money on? You don't need it, because you can certainly live on that, pay the rent and utilities and keep food on the table. You have students whose families live on eight hundred a month, if they are lucky. This is an example of greed.

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Kuku_Kansas 4 years, 4 months ago

The only teachers that complain about salaries are the ones dumb enough to stick around districts that pay nuts and sticks compared to other districts.

Kansas teachers should consider relocating to MO and IL. A master's degree and just a few years teaching will earn you a very modest salary of $50k+ in MO and $60k+ in IL. Not bad pay for a 26-28 year old.

I laugh at those that say teachers don't make a lot of money. Sure they do, just got to find the right district.

And the comments about "those that can't, teach"...foolish rhetoric to tell a married couple, both teachers, under the age of 30 easily clearing $120-130,000/year.

Wisen up KS teachers! Wisen up!

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farfle 4 years, 4 months ago

People who make an hourly wage take work home too. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians have to study and plan and pay for their continuing education. They have to buy and maintain their tools.

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avoice 4 years, 4 months ago

Many of the posts here seem to assume that anyone who is not a teacher works a simple 8-5 job and never takes work home or has to go out of town on business. The fact is that if you have, say, a degree in chemistry and you work as a corporate chemist rather than as a teacher, you will spend far more hours at work (in the lab, at your home and on business travel) than any high school chemistry teacher could imagine. And that is just one example. There are thousands of similar scenarios.

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xobi 4 years, 4 months ago

Also, Doll said, Lawrence has a neighborhood elementary school system. The average enrollment for an elementary school in Johnson County is about 450, while in Lawrence, it is 350.

“There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what Lawrence has chosen to do, but it is a much less efficient way to organize elementary schools,” Doll said.

Read this... New York and Cordley will be closed in 2010.

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lawrenceguy40 4 years, 4 months ago

mom-of-3 - exactly! They know what to expect when they set out on the path. But most are not capable of doing anything else. If they could they would. As in most things, those that complain about salary get that salary because they are incapable of earning a higher salary. They would be better asking why they were stupid enough to follow that career.

BTW, I was gainfully employed and paid taxes to educate all your kids. Mine were home-schooled at my expense. Now in semi-retirement, I chose to work at a low salary because I enjoy working and do not wish to be an idle moocher.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

I applaud teachers and have several in my family, but it's a job they choose. It's a job that they studied for and chose to be educated for. Lots of people work after hours, taking work home, because they make a salary and not an hourly wage. Teachers are not the only ones.

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lelly 4 years, 4 months ago

Pendelton isn't the first teacher to leave 497 for higher pay elsewhere, and he won't be the last. I'm glad the issue is getting play in the media and that we are discussing it, but why did it take a coach for the LJW to do a story on teacher-flight from the district? It would only take a little bit of looking to find many others who've left.

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nekansan 4 years, 4 months ago

Eric, lets not forget that those same continuing ed hours also server to move you on the pay scale unless yo do not plan well. So the out of pocked continuing ed hours are not completely altruistic. There are also numerous tax incentives to make the continuing ed more affordable.

The other loss here will be in another year or two when he decides to move to the Blue Valley district because of lower housing costs and to reduce his commute. He pockets the better salary/lower cost of living while Lawrence once again misses a growth opportunity. Then he retires from teaching in Kansas at the higher pay scale after teaching 20 years, takes a job in a Missouri district and gets a good salary in addition to the KPERS retirement check. Lawrence is once again left with relatively inexperienced faculty that all leave as a career choice before they miss out being able to fully leverage the retirement benefits of the better salary.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

"Your little Johnny with his IEP gets his own set of lesson plans, his own test, causing additional work for the teacher." "teaching multiple classes" Your lack of knowledge about the situation is very evident. And causing additional work - yeah, too bad teachers are paid to teach.

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence pay less labor costs on almost everything than almost anywhere. Years ago, it was one of the 10% lowest cites for pay. Lawrence really stinks!!!!!

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salad 4 years, 4 months ago

1.It says he’s been teaching at Free State for 11 years. Making what he’s making, he’s been teaching for probably 20+ years. Just sayin’… 2.He’s nuts trading the convenience of living and working in Lawrence in exchange for making the 45 min. trip to BVSW twice a day for a measly $8k. 3.If money is that big an issue, find another profession. ENTRY level engineers or accountants make more than your BV teaching job, plus they don’t have to deal with teenagers who are jerks. Of course you’d have to be able to do accounting or engineering….. 4.Educrats DO make an obscene amount of money, and with no real benefit to the taxpayer; they are the problem. Let’s see how “Doctor” Doll addresses that.

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ivalueamerica 4 years, 4 months ago

Boot,

Are you really counting staff days as free, and forgetting the number of in-service days they must complete in the summer? the amount of continuing Education required? Field trips and sporting events and plays, lunch-room monitoring before and after school monitoring, grading papers at home...

If you are going to calculate it, do it for real

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funkdog1 4 years, 4 months ago

boot2009: You also have to figure in the amount of money that teachers spend out of their own pockets on snacks, supplies and sometimes clothing for their kids and classrooms, not to mention what they pay for continuing education and certifications.

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commonsense 4 years, 4 months ago

Good one Lawrenceguy40. And you do what for a living?
Your education level is what? You contribute to society how?

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Judgesmails 4 years, 4 months ago

monkeys and lawrenceguy couldnt handle one day of teaching.

and if they have kids (lets hope not) they probably are uninvolved and absintee parents who expect teachers to do their parenting............ and they both are probably unemployed,

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George Lippencott 4 years, 4 months ago

Jeremy (Anonymous) says…

Right on. Maybe we need to rethink our form of government?

For the teachers- careful who you throw in with!

Small class size means more teachers putting strain on budgets. I believe our class sizes are below many of our neighbors?

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boot2009 4 years, 4 months ago

I am not bashing teachers but I really thought it would be interesting to "do the math" on salaries:

From the Elementary Teacher Level--

Teachers have students in the classroom 182 days. They have 9 "staff" days (4 of which are conference days). They have 22 "vacation" days during the school year (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Martin Luther King, Spring Break, and Weather Days--of course these could be used). They have approximately 54 days off in the summer (depending on dedication level--I know many who return early to set up classrooms, etc.--but this is done on their own schedule they don't have set hours to account for).

Teachers are given, per contract, 3 hrs and 10 minutes per week for planning plus an additional 6 hrs and 30 min. per calendar year. They are also given 90 minutes per week (Wednesdays) for "collaboration" time. So approximately they have about 5 hours per week for planning. Teachers are given 25 minutes for lunch. Teachers also have 12 paid sick days.

If, giving them the benefit of the doubt because I have seen how hard they work, they put in an average of 10 hours per day during the school year INCLUDING the "staff" days--a teacher would work 1,910 hours at $49,995 is about $26 per hour. If you broke it down into the standard 7:30-4:00 (minus the lunch) for an 8 hour day they would make almost $33/hr.

$26 per hour, approximately 76 days off per year, plus the potential of 12 additional sick days...not a bad gig.

Again, NOT bashing. I think teachers are incredible and brave! I don't think I could handle being in a classroom like that plus the added pressures of molding little minds with all of the crazy regulations and testing...awesome. But, when people start to complain about how much teachers make...well, it is hard to do the math and make that make sense. Of course, if you haven't worked as long you don't make as much money. That is the case in any job. I think for the pay the balance of the time off helps to justify salaries as well. I have to do my continuing education at the same time I am working full time...so that complaint can fly right out the window! I work a 50+ hour week AND take classes at the same time.

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Jeremy 4 years, 4 months ago

Pay and benefits for ANY publically funded job in Lawrence are lower than neighboring communities. That's because of all the service organizations and special interest groups with their hands out, secret back room deals with developers and builders, and government leaders with unlimited (and virtually unchecked) spending ability.

In lean times we need to be funding core services - teachers, paramedics, police, sewer... Not buying special interest million dollar buildings and contaminated fertilizer plants!

Next time you have to call your children's teacher, or someone to come and possibly save your house or life, don't get your hopes up. Citizens of Lawrence and Douglas County please remember; When you pay banannas, you get monkeys.

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neudog 4 years, 4 months ago

To all the teachers or prospective teachers reading this - thank you. Thank you for all your provide our children, our community of Lawrence and the future of our great nation. Anyone on here saying negative things simply "doesn't know what they don't know".

The vast majority of Lawrence wants you in our great city and we appreciate you deeply.

Thank you for all you do.

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anon1958 4 years, 4 months ago

Nationally, the "cost" of becoming a teacher is about a 20% reduction in salary compared to what a person can make with the equivalent education in other fields. There are a lot of hateful comments posted every time any article about teachers is posted in this part of the world.

I have lived in the in other states in the midwest, in the southeastern USA and the West. None of these other areas has anywhere near the anti-teacher sentiment that is so common in Kansas. The teachers of Kansas need to wise up and unionize at a statewide level. They are incredibly unpopular with the state legislature so there is no downside to alienating the anti-union politicians or voters anyway.

I bet that most of the people that criticize teachers and say that they have an easy job have not earned a college degree. The fact of the matter is that science and math teachers have to take many courses in science and math departments in order to be certified for teaching high school.

You can rely on the fact that the vast majority of teachers are far more intelligent and better educated than the retrograde conservative knuckleheads that criticize them on internet forums such as this one.

It is a real tragedy that the morons in the state legislature cannot even fund K-12 at the level required by the Constitution of Kansas. The FAKE democrat governor said that he was required to balance the budget by the state constitution but his budget is still in violation of the state constitution because he did not provide for the required by recent court settlement amount of funding for school children.

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lama 4 years, 4 months ago

Who needs competitive salaries when LSD has TWO new football stadiums? Nice job, administration and school board!

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RonBurgandy 4 years, 4 months ago

Most teachers do make in the $30-$50k range. Districts' payscales are all available on the districts' websites, so if you want to look it up, go ahead.

One of my favorite things is people that bash what a job pays without knowing all the job entails. (Most) teachers work as hard, if not harder, than anyone else. To think that he has a base salary after 11 years of $49k at Free State is not a lot of money, but pay is an extremely relative term. Plus he's probably not looking at much of a step raise this year, due to the recent budget cuts. Teachers are underpaid and they do deserve more.

Monkeyspunk - where the heck do you live that it takes 2 hours to get to a BV school from Lawrence? I used to commute from 6th & Wakarusa to OP and it took me 45 minutes.

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Boston_Corbett 4 years, 4 months ago

Fixed_Asset (Anonymous) says…[to Marion] "That's a very uninformed thing to say, lady! There are laws that govern all school district monies. Perhaps you should read up on it so you have a better understanding."


No, laws do not apply to Marion. And no need for him to have an understanding either, he just makes up his own ..... interpretations. He's ignored the facts about this issue from the very beginning.

And paying his debts? Well, why would he want to do that? That's for people with integrity.

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lawrenceguy40 4 years, 4 months ago

If you can't, teach!

What a bunch of mooching whiners.....

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Maxandwillie 4 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence has 2 high schools and 15 elementary schools

BV is opening its 5th high school and has 19 elementary schools.

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rivercitymom 4 years, 4 months ago

Ack! I can't stand teacher bashing. I am not a teacher but I have done my share of (volunteer) work with kids and it isn't easy and takes tons of prep time. Also, to earn the top salaries, teachers have to be in the classroom for many years PLUS have an advanced degree. Those advanced degrees prepare them to convey information to our kids.

There are lots of studies on what makes a teacher great, and from what I've read it takes a good deal of training, practice and maybe a somewhat natural or learned ability to think well on your feet. It is HARD WORK being up in front of a class day after day, especially when you throw in behavior issues, home issues and God knows what all else.

When I read some of these comments, I can't believe such uneducated, backward idiots live here in Lawrence, a town that was built on education! Wow. Just wow.

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Fixed_Asset 4 years, 4 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…

That's because the School Board spends all the money on Astroturf.

That's a very uninformed thing to say, lady! There are laws that govern all school district monies. Perhaps you should read up on it so you have a better understanding.

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consumer1 4 years, 4 months ago

"Lawrence school salaries lag nearby districts"

Lawrence school district teachers work year lags behind the average Joe who works 12 months out of each year. For alot less.

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Hop2It 4 years, 4 months ago

 "Was just curious about Dr Doll's comment about the structure of the elementary school system in Lawrence? What is he implying? Does he have an alternative solution that will be more economically feasible?"

I don't think he is necessarily saying this is a solution, but it would be more "economically feasible" to have larger elementary schools that serve more children per building and per administrator. Lawrence has neighborhood elementary schools, some of which are relatively small.

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KSManimal 4 years, 4 months ago

The retirement benefits Dr. Doll mentions are only available to teachers who retire early. Those who teach until "retirement age" currently have no retirement benefit from USD 497.

Just last year, Lawrence began contributing $720/year to a 403(b) for teachers. But it takes six years to be fully vested. So teachers retiring now would get about a hundred bucks. Six years from now, maybe around $5,000.

Compare that $5K to the $10,000 - $20,000 higher salaries elsewhere, and ....well, there's not much of a comparison.

Teachers are part of the KPERS system, and KPERS benefits are based on the last few years' salaries. Thus, it isn't just a matter of higher salary but also higher retirement benefits (for the same amount paid into the system). There is no way to rationalize lower salaries with claims of wonderful retirement benefits - it just isn't so.

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67camille 4 years, 4 months ago

Was just curious about Dr Doll's comment about the structure of the elementary school system in Lawrence? What is he implying? Does he have an alternative solution that will be more economically feasible?

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Boston_Corbett 4 years, 4 months ago

lets all be like Marion....attend schools in Wyandotte County, live in Wyandotte County, not own real estate and pay school taxes anywhere, complain about Lawrence from Wyandotte County, and file our bankruptcy petitions at the federal courthouse in Wyandotte County.

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cadillac 4 years, 4 months ago

"8 hours a day/7 days a week" ? Interesting concept, I don't believe it but interesting. My estimate for his commute is $1,500 added fuel, 15,000 miles maintenance/wear= $1,500, 320 hrs X$39 = $12,480. Total $15,480 vs. $8046 = $7,434 (loss). Note the mileage is NOT deductable.
So is this now 10 hours a day/7 days a week?

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To Sides 4 years, 4 months ago

You teacher bashers need to shadow a teacher for a day. Not only in school but at home. The majority of teachers have to make lesson plans, tests, grading, plan conferences, on their own time at home. Your little Johnny with his IEP gets his own set of lesson plans, his own test, causing additional work for the teacher. Teachers now days aren't teaching just one class, because of IEP's they are teaching multiple classes at the same time.

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SnakeFist 4 years, 4 months ago

I agree with kansasmom - I had no idea public school teachers make that much money. You wouldn't know it from all the complaints about how lttle teachers make. In fact, the higher salaries mentioned in the article are more than most JCCC faculty make.

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in123 4 years, 4 months ago

Interesting that coaching boys pays more than coaching girls at Free State. What happenned to equality?

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Kookamooka 4 years, 4 months ago

Oh Yeah Merrill~! you are on to something. This requires investigative journalism. No one wants to blow the whistle on this. I always thought there must be some beneficial reason why vacant property in this town can sit for years. The Masonic Lodge? Other historic desirable buildings that need development but just rot until the developer who owns them can tear them down. Its a scandal and one that needs reporting on. But LJ won't do it. Bedfellows. Do the owners write it off on their taxes? Hmmmm.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 4 months ago

In Lawrence there are property owners that are NOT paying property taxes on new vacant property.... so I read.

Which makes me wonder if all vacant properties in the Lawrence/Douglas County tax district ARE not paying property taxes?

Why are these property tax collections not being enforced?

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farfle 4 years, 4 months ago

Full time pay for part time work.

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Maxandwillie 4 years, 4 months ago

I Compared the salary schedules of the blue valley district to Lawrence (they are online) and found that when Pendleton retires in BV his salary will be $73k (if he gets to MA +60) plus his coaching ($12800). $85800

in lawrence the numbers would be $56,700 (MA +60) plus his coaching ($9720) for a total of $66,420

the difference is: $19300 (per year) at that step. wow

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farfle 4 years, 4 months ago

Teachers are vastly overpaid. Their unions have been at it for decades conning the public into thinking they are underpaid.

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4getabouit 4 years, 4 months ago

Let me see if I have this right. You can retire from the Lawrence system and get a year's salary over five years. In Pendelton's case..60K, plus paid health insurance for seven years (wow). Blue Valley did away with their early retirment system some time back. By my math, with this extra bonus and the cost of the commute, he should wait, retire from Lawrence, and then go to Blue Valley. That would be the smart $$ move. Perhaps Lawrence should take the money it puts into early retirement and extended health benefits and put that into base salary. That seems to be what BV did.

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cold 4 years, 4 months ago

People bashing the work of teachers should be ashamed. Idiots.

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 4 months ago

That's because the School Board spends all the money on Astroturf.

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eric1889 4 years, 4 months ago

Weegee, forgot to mention that we work from 7:30 to 5:00 with a 20 minute lunch, then have to go home and grade papers and lesson plan. I would almost bet that we work more hours in 10 months, than many work in 12.

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Matthew Herbert 4 years, 4 months ago

I have a family full of teachers that all live in lawrence. Suprise...to make any decent money, they have to teach OUT of town (Topeka pays much better). It's sad that such an amazing school district as Lawrence, with beautiful facilities & amazing test scores pays the teachers that facilitate all of this SO poorly. It's a shame. Especially considering that administrators are paid upwards of 90k to 100k.

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swan_diver 4 years, 4 months ago

The USD gives away millions to big contractors and manufacturers for sporting facilities utilized by a few percent of the student body, while administrators pad their salaries and budgets, and shaft teachers and support personnel. Nice work. Screw the average student, assault the lives of the people charged with educating them, and shovel the proceeds to your friends in business, and those of your 'professional' class.

It's hope you can believe in.

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Jeff Kilgore 4 years, 4 months ago

Here's a thought: To attract teachers to the Lawrence area, let's make as many derogatory comments about teachers as we can! That will attract the best and brightest to Lawrence! So, monkeyspunk, call them fools; kansasmom, tell teachers that they should be "lucky" to make 40K a year; infidel, tell everyone that teachers work only half a year!

Here's the thing that will shut all three of you up: there are nearly 30 four-year institutions in Kansas that offer education degrees. Go get one. Let us all know when you're in the classroom. I'll be retired in just a few years, so I'll be able to watch you in action! You could volunteer to help kids if you care that much about education. Yikes! On second thought, just continue to make "insightful" comments. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the wise public.

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weegee 4 years, 4 months ago

eric1889--I'll add on to your statement: most of us work far above and beyond 8 hours a day/7 days a week.

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eric1889 4 years, 4 months ago

Infidel, do you know anything about the teaching profession. We are required to work in the summer. We have to take graduate classes or attend seminars that earn up points to keep our license. These expenses come out of own pockets, and are not cheap. In addition, I believe the school year is getting closer to 10 months, so that isn't exactly half the year. So why don't you get your facts straight before making ignorant statements.

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kansasmom 4 years, 4 months ago

Wow, that is a good salary. I didn't know they got paid that much. I'm sure there are lots of folks that would love to be paid $60K plus! I know I would... I thought by the way everyone complained about teachers' salaries they barely made $40k.

Congrats to him on making more money and still doing something he loves to do.

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infidel 4 years, 4 months ago

60K to work half a year is outstanding, guess I should become a teacher.

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Kookamooka 4 years, 4 months ago

Nope. Even districts in KCK pay more than Lawrence. Sure the kids aren't as privlidged as the Lawrence kids but they need good teachers, too and they are willing to pay for them.

Maybe Pendleton will decide he wants his own children to have the stellar education that the Blue Valley kids get so he won't be commuting. Oh....SNAP, Moneyspunk.

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volunteer 4 years, 4 months ago

First, congrats to Jason for landing a job at such a high paying district. I suspect that the Lawrence Board knows how attractive a community Lawrence is and the law of supply and demand is in play.

Also, for context, a quick online search shows that a "Masters plus 30 hours" teacher with 11 years experience at Valley Falls earns 41,233. So while Lawrence pays some teachers substantially less than the Johnson County schools, it pays substantially more than many of the surrounding school districts.

Finally, some say that teaching the children of privilege in Johnson County can present special challenges. Too many of those students, I have been told, simply have so much money that they have a disdainful attitude.

Good article. When I asked Dr. Doll online about what cuts have been made in the central office, he replied that the information would be presented to the school board in a few months. I'd like to see some reductions in expenses there and the net savings go toward the teachers' salaries.

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monkeyspunk 4 years, 4 months ago

Umm, $8K more per year will barely cover the gasoline and vehicle maintenance costs commuting every day.

Also, if you take into account the actual drive time, which will be 100 to 120 minutes per day. That is an additional 1.5 to 2 hours a day in the car, away from the beloved family. That is 15 to 20 hours a pay period or 390 to 520 hours a year. Depending on the hourly wage, that is $8K or more right there.

Also, making that new total would probably take you out of qualifying for programs like SCHIP, depending on the size of the family. That can add up as well.

Pendleton, you are a fool. So I guess you are in the right profession.

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