Early in January, a group called “Lakeville Teachers” did some salary comparisons between their district and nearby Northfield Public Schools. Posting on Twitter/X, the comparison noted that a beginning Northfield teacher could make $20,000 more in three years than a teacher at the same level in Lakeville.
It’s a fair point and made us curious to see what Lakeville Area Schools actually spend per student. The results were rather surprising.
According to official reports, total expenditures for the district in FY 2023 were $297,030,716. Average Daily Membership (ADM) for the district was 11,880. That means that Lakeville spent $25,003 per student.
Unfortunately, that spendy price tag for educating each Lakeville student doesn’t seem to give a stellar return … at least when it comes to academics. In 2023, only 45.6% of students were proficient in science, only 57.1% were proficient in math, and only 62.5% were proficient in reading.
The student-teacher ratio in Lakeville Public Schools is 17:1, according to U.S. News & World Report. That means that an average classroom has $425,051 poured into it each year.
Let’s look at that salary schedule again. How is it that beginning Lakeville teachers manage a classroom that has $425,000 pouring into it each year, but they only see around $50,000 or so of that money? It’s really no wonder they feel a bit insulted to see the higher salaries forked out by a neighboring district.
Now, consider if our state enacted Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). They would give teachers in both Lakeville and Northfield a chance to break out of the set salary schedule by trying something new and innovative—such as starting a microschool, a tutoring service, or even becoming an instructor in various homeschool co-ops. With ESA money following each student, each teacher then has more liberty to break free and compete for a salary that truly rewards their talents and abilities.
Teachers know when they’re being taken advantage of. It’s time to give them a way out, too.
Image Credit: Facebook-Lakeville Area Schools