Last week saw teachers from Minnetonka Public Schools rally in support of a new contract. Education Minnesota President Denise Specht joined them, later posting pictures on the organization’s social media pages to cheer the teachers onward and telling them that “they deserve a contract that shows their worth!”
So just what does Minnetonka Public Schools think its teachers are worth?
Currently, the average teacher salary in the district is around $52,000 a year, according to estimates on Glassdoor. Each teacher is responsible for a class size of 15 students, estimates from U.S. News & World Report suggest.
In FY 2023, the district reported $219,589,857 in total expenditures. That same year, Average Daily Membership (ADM) registered 11,241 students. This means that the district spends $19,535 to educate each student every year.
That also means that each classroom of 15 students should receive $293,025. If teachers are only receiving an average salary of $52,000 a year, then where is the other roughly $250,000 going? Does this disparity seem like Minnetonka teachers are justified in their requests for a better teacher contract and even a higher salary?
Given normal budgetary constraints, it seems unlikely that teachers will get much of a salary bump with their new contract. But what if we decided to start thinking outside the box of how teachers could make more for the all-important work they’re doing?
The fact is, passing school choice—particularly Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)—in the Minnesota Legislature could give our hard-working teachers many more options, flexibility, and possibly an even higher salary, particularly if they decide to branch out on their own. Starting a small microschool for their friends and family members, or providing tutoring services to many students—with both options paid for by the ESA money, which would follow each child to the school or educational opportunities of his choice—are two of these options.
The fact is, if we’re going to give both students and teachers the value and appreciation they deserve, then we need to try new innovations with regard to student funding. The old way just doesn’t cut it.
Image Credit: MinnetonkaSchools YouTube