Brunswick's school budget problem
The following letter has been submitted to the editors of the Times Record and The Forecaster. Let's see if either of them has the courage to print the facts the School Board doesn't want Brunswick residents to know.
Recent headlines have decried the financial plight of the Brunswick School Board. What these headlines have not told you is why. Let me provide some facts and you can be the judge.
The average teacher in the Brunswick schools has been in the system for 20 years. They hold a Masters Degree that was paid for by the taxpayers (>$8,000). When they were hired in 1991 their base salary was $24,585. Today it is $60,941 and if past history is repeated; their base salary will be over $110,000 when they retire in 2031. On retirement they will collect from a $2 million guaranteed annuity, 90% of which has been paid for by the taxpayer. During their working career over 90% of their health insurance premiums will be paid by the taxpayer. On retirement this coverage continues with the taxpayer picking up 45% of the cost. Their lifetime cost to the taxpayer will be over $5 million for filling the same job description and producing the same results when they started as when they finished.
When the Brunswick school system had its peak population in 2004 the cost to educate a Brunswick student was just over $10,000 and in 2011 nearly $17,000. Looked at from a different perspective, the cost to graduate a Brunswick 12th grader has grown from $98,000 in 2003 to over $140,000 in 2011.
The population of the school system at its peak in 2004 was about 3400 students and has declined by over 27% since the closing of the Brunswick Naval Air Station and less precipitous decline in Brunswick’s general population. On the other hand the number of teachers covered by the union contract has actually risen. If this downward adjustment in students was coupled with a commensurate reduction in the number of teachers and staff the town and the state could save as much as $12 million per year. That is over 20% of the total tax burden of the town.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions from the information presented that was gleaned from the school department’s own data.