Saturday, June 12, 2010

By Request ...

   Budget & GTA Contract Discussion

I've been asked to continue the discussion about the budget, cuts made and related subjects on a new thread. I've also been asked to provide a place for people to comment on what parameters the school board should aim for in settling the teacher's contract. Since the two topics are so intricately tied together, here's a place to discuss both/either.


george hubbard said...


1. Word has it a new GTA contract will be approved soon by BOE.

2. Current GTA contract (185 days +/- per year) is organized into annual steps with salaries ranging from $35K (entry) to $83K (after 23 yrs).

3. Step advances show +26.5% after 5 yrs... +70.6% after 10. Up fast... out early!

4. Figures for this year (2009-10) show:

4a. Number of teachers: Count = 1,157 FTE (Full Time Equiv) employees... some on each step.

4b. Total GTA salaries: Payroll = $69.3M... represents 35% of total GCSD budget... salaries only... does not include benefits.

4c. Pay raises: 74% of salaries... up 4% or more this year, 45% of salaries... up 5% or more... for steps coming into 2009-10.

Q#1: Will residents inssit BOE members justify and explain their vote for new GTA contract?

Q#2: How can tax levy increase 2% to 3% per year... when nearly half of budget (GTA salaries + benefits) is going up much faster – by two or three times?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, George. Nice summary of the impact of the salary on the budget and how the increases in our budget are driven by the increases step by step.
One way to control the costs wold be the return to the Student/teacher ratio that we had in 2000-2001. With the reduction in students over the past decade, if would have about 150 fewer teachers if we had held the ratio constant. 150 teachers (and perhaps a few administrators, too!) would be a significant bite in the budget.
Why is the teacher headcount going up when the student population is falling???

Anonymous said...

Each year you should have a a group of teachers retiring and being replaced by someone at the starting salary or close to it. This would represent a $45,000+ saving per teacher. Say the average teaching career is 30 years so that would be approximately 3.3% teachers retiring each year. so abut 38 teachers. The average teacher raise is about $1600 for the rest of the teachers.(If you average the raises over the course of a 30 year career) So the two figures almost end up being a wash. Obviously if you are not distributed evenly these numbers are not exact, but that is the basic idea of why step increases should not cost the district much more money from year to year.

Anonymous said...

To George Hubbard:

#1. Wasn't this contact first aproved in 2002?

#2. Didn't you vote for in when it was renewed in 04 or 05?

#3. If I'm wrong then who voted for it orginally it?

#4. If these dates or times are wrong please correct.

george hubbard said...

To: Post 5:42PM, thank you for posting.

1. Help me understand your hypothesis better.

2. Let’s call numbers I presented Case A.

2a. Case A: Employee count = 1157.4 FTE... min sal = $35K... max sal = $83K...

2b. employee count each step = as reported by GCSD 2009-10...

2c. Case A: Payroll (sum total all GTA salaries) = $69.3M according to my calculation.

3. Let’s call hypothetical numbers you propose as Case B.

3a. Case B: Employee count = 1157.4 FTE... min sal = $35K... max sal = $83K.

Case A and Case B identical up to this point.

3b. employee count on each step as you propose... total FTE divided across 30yrs (steps)... count = 3.333% x 1157.4 FTE = 38.580 FTE each step.

Question: Do I understand you correctly so far?

3c. Case B: Payroll (sum total all GTA salaries) = $75.8M according to my calculation using current GTA contract and your count each step.

Do you agree?

6. Payroll difference Case B - Case A = $75.8M - $69.3M = $6.5M. GCSD would need extra $6.5M in annual budget.

7. Question: Where does GCSD get extra $6.5M to prime the pump for Case B?

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is forgetting - given the sad state of affairs at Greece Central - the average years of teaching in Greece is less than 6 years. That means by the 6th year, the average Greece teacher has moved on to a different school district or just left teaching all together.

I think this needs to be factored in when we are talking about costs.

Anonymous said...

Hey I have a great idea. We could save lots of money in our society if we just fired everybody over 50.

None of them need or deserve money anyway

Anonymous said...

Your point is? How does this compare to other districts? How does one know if they are no longer teaching?
Are you saying all the senarios are because of the contract or lack of one?

Anonymous said...

Pay increases for teachers making over $55,000 should be limited to bonuses based on student achievement. The teachers should be integrally involved in developing the measurments of those achievements. At least a three year moving average should be used to establish those accomplishments.
Similarly, teachers who continually underperform on those agreed upon improvments should be subject to financial penalties and eventually loss of employement.

It is for the kids and the contract should recogonize that.

Anonymous said...


Not sure where your calculations of 6.5M comes in. That is a raise of $5600 per teacher(clearly not possible).

You are missing the point of my figures. If we kept the current contract of steps, we could come back in 10 years and the salaries would be costing the district the exact same amount as they do now. There are year to year fluctuations because there are not the same amount of teachers at each step, but overall it would balance out. (If 40 teachers retire in a given year and are replaced by step 1 teachers it would save the district almost 2 million. Which would cover the costs of the step increases for everyone else.)

Each year teachers retire and are replaced by step 1(approximately), then they move up to step 2 but more teachers retire. It is just a big cycle.

Overall teacher salary costs increase when there are cost of living increases worked in(which raise the starting salary and each and every step). This has not happened on about 8 years.

The extra costs really come in with increased costs in health care. In addition if you compare to 6-7 years ago we have approximately 300 more teachers.

Two points of view on this. School populations are down we should have fewer teachers.

The big thing that no one discusses the fact that the amount of classified students we have(special ed) has increased dramatically. We are mandated to have special ed teachers for them. This is a very large increase in costs. There are more special education teachers than there are math teachers or science teachers etc... So the state mandates that we have all of these teachers, yet they cut our funding.

george hubbard said...

To: 10:32PM, thanks for posting... my reply to your points:

1. I think yes, but not sure without checking... I was not BOE member.

2. Yes, Feb 2005 as I recall.

3. Don’t know who voted originally.

4. Dates close enough for my purposes... can not speak for yours.

Okay, you moved first... I moved... next move is yours.

Anonymous said...

1:34 Also consider that as many teachers that leave Greece there are others who transfer to Greece from the city. They are hired at whatever level they were leaving. So not all new hires are fresh from college starting at the bottom tier. And the health benefits are the same no matter the tier. Is the state offering any early retirement incentives?

Anonymous said...

Now that we have fired everybody over 50 lets cut everybodies salary and make them work more and more for less money.

That's the American dream,

This is a silly discussion.\

If folks in Greece want to attack those who have a middle class standard of living we can kiss our way of life goodbye.

You have absolutely no idea of the lager implications of an economic race to the bottom.

But we always have the mega churches and Glenn beck to tell us this is God's will.

SCATS said...

To 1:45PM ~~ You call it a "silly discussion" and then you bring up "You have absolutely no idea of the lager implications of an economic race to the bottom."

Maybe it's time for you to put down the lager. What's "silly" is your twisted view of something that only a small segment of the population enjoys: fulltime salary & benefits fit for a corporate director for part time work.

george hubbard said...

To: 1:34AM, thanks for posting.

1. Based upon 2009-10 salary info for 1,157 FTE teachers (count provided to me by FOIL), median salary = $58,000... this corresponds to step for 11 years experience.

2. As for “...sad state of affairs at Greece Central...”, I don’t recognize what you are referring too...

3. Questtion: Is BOE aware of “sad state of affairs”... are there BOE District goals and objectives not being met?

Anonymous said...

In todays world what is lifetime job security worth (tenure)?
What is it worth to be able to plan for tommorrow knowing your job is always there?
No one else has this luxury. What impact does this item have on job performance?

Charlie Hubbard said...

A quick story to demonstrate incompetence at gcsd.
1998 - Mr. Grason and I were attending our first board meeting as newly elected members. Before the regular meeting the board was hearded into the back room and told by our new super (Walts) "I have a contract with the teachers union - do you want it?' There were more administrators in the room than board members. 30 minutes later we were voting to accept this contract with 2 no votes (Mr. Grason and I)
This was the way things were done - no idea what the cost was, nothing read, just vote and get it done.
Interesting enough 6 years later the board was once again in the back room agreeing to give that same super lifetime family medical and dental FREE FOR LIFE - once again no idea what the cost was or was going to be.
Fast forward to 2008 via the Comptrollers audit, again in back room where the reps from the comtrollers office told us Greece was one of WORST they had seen. Incompetence, my words not theirs.

It is my hope that adherence to policy 6431 and the recommedations in the Comptrollers audit especialy item 17 - page 30 will be enough to keep things above board. Incompetence may still exist but at least the owners of the district will be able to see it.

Now to some items in ANY new teachers contact.

The 'release time' (page 34)give/away having taxpayers pay for people to do union business is an INSULT to every taxpaying resident.

The absenteeisum section (page 35) is so bad it is the promotion of failure.

Medical - any agreement based on % is a slap in the face to the community. A set amount $$ must be the way it is written. Having the taxpayers pay a (%) persent means yet another segment of the community not caring what the cost is. A double whammy to the taxpayers.

Salaries; it would appear MERIT is off the table, Better results are off the table, making ENTITLEMENT the word of the day. Seeing as that is no doubt the word of the day - go back and compare the cpi to the raises already given.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who thinks tenure means job for life. There are plenty of tenured teachers losing their job this year. Tenure does not keep you safe from budget cuts, in addition you can fire a teacher who has tenure for gross incompetence you just have to take the time and paper work to prove it.

Now that being said, I don't think we should have tenure, but I would love to find an effective way to evaluate teachers. The current system is pointless and rating them on test results obviously has tons of issues. I think we should start from scratch on how we evaluate and reward teachers but it is nearly impossible to do so when you have two large incompetent entities controlling things.(The state and the teachers unions)

SCATS said...

To 8:12PM ~~ The larger cost to getting rid of an incompetent teacher are the ridiculous legal fees! I would add most BOEs to the unions & NY state as being part of the problem. These folks have no clue about the impact of the decisions they make, for the most part.

george hubbard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the D and C editorial about how we have problems in New York State and they could be solved by putting a cap on property tax. Before I read the end of the article there was the question of how the items like education would be paid for if property tax was capped. Would our state income tax be increased? Then in the 2nd last sentence the editor says that we have to repeal the triborough amendment that sustains present contracts and step increases.
Funny that this paper always endorses the liberal and spendthrift politicians who are backed by unions. The only recent exception was their cowardly act of not endorsing anyone for the last Greece town supervisor race.

Anonymous said...

Scats; your blog has hightened my interest in this contract situation yet I cannot find what has interest me which leads me to ask you if you know.
Do we have all teachers on the same pay scale? Are the art teachers on the same pay scale as the math teachers? Are guildence counselors paid the same as science teachers? I cannot find where this is broken down.

SCATS said...

To 9:51AM ~~ They are not broken down. A gym teacher for K-2 is on the same pay scale as a HS physics teacher. Counselors and librarians are covered by the GTA contract, too.

SCATS said...

George Hubbard's posting from 1:18AM has been deleted by his request.

Anonymous said...

from my 9;51 posting.
Thanks for the answer Scats and let me say that is completely irresponsible money management.

george hubbard said...

To: 8:07AM, thanks for posting.

1. You say, “You (George) are missing the point of my FIGURES.” I say, "I don’t think so... please read on."

1a. If your FIGURES are as follows: A) ASSUME 30 equal salary steps, B) ASSUME nearly equal count of teachers on each step, and C) ASSUME teachers exit only by retirement at top salary ($83K), and D) ASSUME new hires enter only at bottom salary ($35K)... then I see your point – I am not missing it.

2. I also accept you point... that the total of all salaries would not increase over time (e.g. 10yrs) when/if these ASSUMPTIONS are satisfied. I agree te theory is mathematically correct.

3. But do you see my point, “Your ASSUMED figures are for a special idealized case... far removed from reality?”

3a. If your answer is NO, then I ask, “Where are the data to test your ASSUMPTIONS against the current GTA contract and/or GCSD experience?”

4. For example:

4a. Current GTA contract step-to-step = +$3,000. Your ASSUMED step-to-step = +$1,666 – about half. How would teachers be moved from current to future?

4b. Current GTA teacher count on GTA steps range from 20 FTE (step 21) to 96 FTE (step 14). You ASSUMED a constant count = 40. How will peaks and valleys be ironed out moving from current to future?

4c. Where are your figures to show teachers exit GTA salary schedule mostly by retiring at top salary ($83K)?

4d. How do you cover future salary increases at no additional cost... if the exit/entrance differential is not the maximum $83K minus $35K = $48K?

5. Lastly, please explain how your mathematically correct theory will fit the bumps and voids of reality in GTA salaries?

6. I'll post later on your cost of living comments. In the meantime, can you please explain, “Why GTA step increases of 5%, 6%, 7% per year do not already include cost of living?

The next move is yours.

Anonymous said...

Bishop to King's two.

SCATS said...

To 5:31PM ~~ There's ALWAYS at least one wiseass.

Anonymous said...


You obviously know that teachers do not get a $3000 raise every year. So I do not know why you claimed that was the case. $1600 steps are the average over the course of a career. Some get more ($3000)some get less ($0)

I never said that step increases were not cost of living increases for individual teachers. I said step increases do not raise district costs in the long term. This is basic math.

The real problem comes with board of education that does not know how to handle money. About 5-10 years ago there were large amounts of teachers retiring every year.(above the average) These were replaced by lower cost teachers. Instead of saving this money for times when numbers were not in the districts favor or lowering taxes, the district simply found other ways to spend the money.

Now when we have a dip, the district is not prepared. How do we get them to prepare better? I saw we need to start running our schools more like a business, we should be thinking more long term. We need to make tough decisions(close schools). No matter what you do you are going to upset some, but you cannot cave everytime a few parents complain.

Anonymous said...

83K K thru 5 gym teachers you have got to be kidding me

george hubbard said...

To: 6/14/2010 10:42PM, thanks for posting... nice chatting with you.

1. You say, “You (George) obviously know that teachers do not get a $3,000 raise every year. So I do not know why you claimed that was the case.”

1a. Perhaps you misunderstood. I didn’t “claim” anything about “$3,000 raise every year”. I did make a general statement (Ref 4a.) about typical step increments in the current GTA “Salary Schedule” (GTA/SS).

1b. Using the unrestricted terms GCSD “cost”, and GTA “raise” in the context of total compensation – salary + benefits... avoids ambiguity.

1c. To be more precise about GTA step increments: Min = $1.0K, Max = $3.0K, Ave = $2.18K, Median = $3.0K.

1d. I don’t find any mention of your favorite $1,600 reference. I do find two increments of $1.5K from Step 3 to Step 4 (+4.1%), and from Step 4 to Step 5 (+3.9%).

1e. Interesting to note, 65% of total GTA salaries (total = $69.3M) fell on 12 steps that incremented +$3.0K coming into this year.

1f. So, $3.0K increments pop up many places and pretty much dominate current GTA/SS - don't you agree? I hope this clears up any confusion.

2. You (10:42PM) say, “...step increases do not raise district costs in the long term. This is basic math.”

2a. To prove your statement TRUE or FALSE (using basic math)... requires knowing the count (actual or assumed) for teachers on each GTA step, and... exit and entrance salaries for teacher turnover.

2b. GTA steps alone are not costs; they are cost rates (cost per unit of teacher). Knowing steps without a teacher count leaves cost indeterminant - for basic math or even advanced math. Do you agree?

3. You say, “Now when we have a dip, the district is not prepared. How do we get them to prepare better?”

3a. I ask, “To what dip do you refer?”

4. I agree that BOE should be thinking (planning) long term.

So 10:42PM, the next move is yours... and please show your figures.

Anonymous said...

Will Greece act on the Retirement incentive the state has offered?