440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
May 18, 2012
Dear members of the School Reform Commission,
Since mathematics is a language of reason and logic I have always been curious to incorporate numbers as tools in any argument that I make. Recently I learned that a specific number is being focused on in many budgetary conversations in the District: $101,500. This is the allocated “average cost” of a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, regardless of where they are teaching or how many years of experience they have.
But where does this number come from?
Just last year this number was $94,500. I completely understand rising costs of pensions, benefits, and inflation as a reason to calculate an increase - but who calculated the original number?
One of the major factors you seem very clear on is that the Union will have to make concessions when it comes to salaries and benefits. Before any of that happens, I think it makes perfect sense to explain the reasoning behind some of these numbers. I imagine it will take some communication with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers as salary is a part of the collective bargaining agreement, but it should be done.
If this number is too high, then schools should be able to use that extra money to cover other costs necessary. Or, perhaps, the District should use that money to defray debt service. Whatever the case may be, we need to have a better understanding of that number. Numbers make powerful arguments.
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