Wrapping up the CFT contract negotiations: the facts

As mentioned earlier, I have been on a quest to find the facts behind salaries. After waiting and waiting and not getting anywhere by waiting, I decided to FOIA the raw data and analyze it myself. Getting the data into an electronic spreadsheet was extremely time-consuming, and thus I am proud to present my work here and let anyone view the spreadsheet for themselves. The first “worksheet” is an index pointing to and explaining the other worksheets.

It is not my intention to cast either the CFT or the Administration/BOE in a particular light. Rather, this is my academic work on finding facts and figures. I also wish to make it quite clear that I am a strong supporter of the teachers; I would be remiss if this post were used to disparage teachers in any way.


There is a bit of consternation on both sides of the fence related to terms like “raises” and “incentives”. I am studiously attempting to avoid those terms and refer simply to “increases”, the observation of how a salary changes.

As I read through the teacher contracts of the past 10 years, it was clear to me that a salary has many components and that the salary schedule is a rather complex matrix of longevity increases and increases due to continuing education. I cannot hope to explain or understand why there are some years with very strange patterns as demonstrated via the “heatmap” worksheet; for instance, in 2009 a massive increase was given to 6th year teachers in the BA track. In 2012, sizable increases were doled out to two steps in the MA+30 track and the MA+60 track, each. It is also interesting to visualize how the salary schedule “freezes” at a certain point for those in the BA track; some teachers in 2011 received no salary change whatsoever, if they were in the BA track.

I do confess, Craig Walker challenged me to take a closer look at salaries which spurred me further to dig up the numbers. He suggested I take down a previous chart that showed teacher salary increases lagging behind the Consumer Price Index (CPI); even though I now know that the previous chart is biased and one-sided, I have decided to leave that chart “as is” because it demonstrates how hard it is to get real truth in certain circumstances.


So these are my facts. I have shown you all my work, my sources and my results. Please check them as you see fit.

Next time we have teacher contract negotiations, this is the kind of data I want to see. The fact that the data is archived in a printed format makes this entire exercise significantly more challenging, but not impossible.

More fact questing/checking

Sent the following questions to Matt Foster – poor guy. 🙂


  1. Current average number of students bussed daily?
  2. Current average number of buses in operation daily?
  3. In the budget presentation given by Mr. Foster, I see each fund has an estimated value from July 1, 2013 with a footnote. Why an estimate since it was September when the presentation was made, and what does the footnote say?
  4. The Highlight page says expenditures for Transportation was down. However page 23 shows $4.1 million on all expenditures, and the actual expenditure from 2012 was $4.0 million. How is that going down? Also, page 24 shows $4.8 million – where is that coming from?
  5. When “local sources” is listed in each fund, what exactly are those local sources? I assume property taxes, but perhaps there are other sources? The Sales Tax feeds only into the O&M fund? It would help to have a slide on the overall picture, ie, how much money comes in altogether and which fund it goes to and where it comes from, maybe in both a table format and a pie graph as you have for the individual funds.
  6. Curious why the Tort fund has $1.1 million surplus; we don’t see any of the historical information for this fund like we do the others.
  7. More interested in the Ed Fund, since that is by far the largest expense. Would love to see a more granular breakdown of where money goes. Slide 12 shows “Instructional” expenditures which totals very close to $60 million and are separate from Administrative “support” and staff, but slide 13 shows a little over $60 million for all salaries. How much is teacher vs admin vs staff vs subs?
  8. I have an idea, but would like to hear in your own words; what is the purpose of sharing the proposed budget via this presentation?
  9.  When I was told that Unit 4 did not intend to include any more details on teacher salaries augmented with step/lane information that I had requested earlier, I am curious why. Is there a law that prohibits sharing that information?
Pattsi reminded me about “participatory budgeting.” I think it is a fascinating idea, but I have a hard suggesting to Unit 4 how they should do it. One board member I talked to is intrigued by the concept but thinks it is extremely impractical. Especially now when they are all going crazy with long meetings and phone calls. 🙂 I want to keep this idea open, and to do so I really need concreate, actionable ideas.
In the meantime, I am participating by asking my questions and blogging about it.