Wichita Budget Going Up

Wichita school teachers will get a 4 percent raise under a new contract. It also looks like they don’t currently pay anything for health insurance. Says TV-12 news on the contract, “Under the plan, the school board will pay $552 a month for employee health insurance. Teachers have the option of paying an extra $165 a month for premium health insurance.”

The Wichita Eagle (“Teachers, district agree on a contract,” July 25), gives more details.

A 4 percent salary increase for all teachers. The starting salary would be $36,927, up nearly $1,400 from last year.

Raises for additional education and years of experience.

The district would pay $552 a month per employee for health insurance. Teachers could pay an additional $165 a month for a premium health insurance package.

Spouses of district employees who have health insurance available from their employer but who opt to enroll in the district’s plan would pay a $100 monthly surcharge.

The health care plan would introduce a $30 co-pay for office visits and reduce the cost of generic prescriptions from $15 to $10.

In a related story (“Schools move ahead with planned hike in tax rate,” Wichita Eagle, July 24), the district “moved forward in a budgeting process that could see the school district raise its tax rate by 2 mills.”

How large is the state’s largest district? Over a half billion dollars. “The board voted to publish a proposed $516 million budget for the 2007-08 school year that would require raising its local option budget from 27 percent to 30 percent of its general fund.”

The story has an interesting point about how budgets are reported:

“Chief financial officer Linda Jones said the published figures will differ from the numbers in the district’s budget-at-a-glance book. State law requires the district to include grant money in its totals. The state also asks that funds for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System be listed.

‘They wire the funds into our bank account and wire them out the same day, but they want them shown on our books,’ she said.

These requirements mean that the published budget will be about $577 million, Jones said.”

It may appear that the higher number is bogus, simply the result of an arbitrary requirement from Topeka. Yet if you’re going to analyze the cost and performance of a school, you’ve got to look at the total amount spent, regardless of who is paying the funds.

“Before the board voted, superintendent Winston Brooks reiterated the position he laid out at an earlier budget workshop: The tax-rate increase is needed to give district teachers and staff a 4 percent raise, which he said is in line with the salary increases approved for city, county and state employees this year.”

Anyone know the average pay raise for private sector workers? Leave a comment if you have a source (e.g., Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank). Kansas or at least Midwest regional data preferred.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
%d bloggers like this: