Last week, Education Minnesota posted the following tweet in support of Eastern Carver County educators, noting that “teachers deserve a contract in which they are seen, heard and valued!”
Seeing this, OAK grew curious. What exactly is the lay of the land when it comes to schools in Eastern Carver County, we wondered?
The Eastern Carver County budget expenditures for the 2022-2023 school year was $217,221,748. That’s a lot of money. But then, it takes a lot of money to run a school system. When it’s broken down per student, the amount is surely much smaller, right?
To see the exact amount that Eastern Carver County is spending per student, we looked at the district’s enrollment numbers for the 2022-2023 school year. That number comes in at 9,313.
Dividing $217,221,748 by 9,313 students we get $23,325.
Maybe you didn’t catch that. Eastern Carver County is spending $23,325 per student.
That’s insane! Especially when you look at Eastern Carver County’s proficiency scores and find that for that price tag, only 61.6% of all its students were proficient in reading, and only 60.5% were proficient in math. That means that 4 out of every 10 students in Eastern Carver County Schools can’t attain grade level proficiency in the two main academic subjects.
But let’s bring these numbers home to teachers for a minute, as they were the ones seeking to negotiate a better contract last week. Indeed.com lists Eastern Carver County teacher salaries at $35 an hour, for an annual salary of roughly $73,000. If we pick a reasonable class size–say, 15 students per class, which is likely on the low end–each classroom should get about $350,000.
If you’re a teacher making $73,000 a year for teaching a class of 15 students, it’s reasonable for you to be wondering where the other $277,000 dollars is going. You’re doing most of the work of educating, after all.
Now consider what would happen if the Minnesota legislature passed Education Savings Accounts (ESA), allowing about $7,000 to follow each student to the school of his choice. Savvy teachers could escape the discipline issues and excessive regulations of the public school system, gather 15 hand-selected students in their own neighborhood, and open a microschool. Even if that teacher only took the ESA amount of $7,000 per student, he could bring in a paycheck of over $110,000 annually.
Given that, perhaps teachers in Eastern Carver County should begin advocating for ESAs rather than for better contracts….
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