Brunswick's school budget problem

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pmconusa
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Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
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.

jcmcards
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Joined: 01/28/2009 - 1:27pm
What I glean from this is

What I glean from this is enrollment is down, and costs have risen. Just out of curiousity, have you compared 2004 general costs with 2011? What is the percentage and then the difference? I'm ok with a teacher who posseses a master to earn 60K...but there needs to be a standard. Then again, in the countries who surpass us, teachers and professor's are held in the highest regard...I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions...

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Are they better teachers

Are they better teachers after we pay for their masters degree? I have yet to see the results that bear this out. If it such a good thing then why not require it prior to getting the job? It seems that it is nothing more than a way to inflate their perceived importance, not to mention a way to get more pay and bennies, without any better results.
Good luck with the budget.

pmconusa
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Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
Definitive studies have shown

Definitive studies have shown through student test results that the benefits of a teacher with a master's degree are insignificant and that experience beyond the first 5 years has no measureable difference in student performance.

The work does not require a master's degree or a lot of experience. What it requires is a knowledge of the subject matter greater than that of the student and a love of the subject that can be an inspiration for the student to learn and recognize the benefits to be derived from that learning.

Nearly all of us will work for someone else and start out by being taught the job by someone who is a doer and a teacher. All your first employer wants is someone who will show up regularly and on time and do what they are told. For that your education at the grammer school level is one of learning to read and write, in other words be able to communicate which is both talking a listening. A smattering of mathematics is handy as well.

One forgets that all of the above is available in any public library and a rigid curriculum that goes beyond the basics is both unnecessary and in fact retarding once someone has decided what they want to purue in life.

A teacher's job is also made easier by the book companies who provide them with texts, lesson plans, outlines and even tests. As for tests, even these can be graded by the students themselves in class as another learning task. The business of giving teachers time to grade papers is just baloney so they don't have to do it after work.

If you are going to require students to attend school the curriculum and the duration should be such that the student can move through it at a pace commensurate with their ability to master the material. In the colleges I attended and in my work for my doctorate formal classes were optional as long as you could pass the tests assessing your ability to master the material being taught.

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