Compensation of average CCSD employee has increased by nearly 20 percent in last four years

Victor Joecks

And here's the perfect end cap to a week of detailing how teachers making over $82,000, $93,000 and $193,000 (where the husband and wife are both teachers) in total compensation complained about not being paid enough.
According to the tentative budget document prepared by CCSD (p. 8) and dealing only with positions funded through the general fund, in 2007, there were 25,650 full-time equivalent positions, which I'm going to refer to as employees for ease of reading. Compensation for those employees totaled $1.54 billion. That's an average compensation of $60,038.99 per employee.

The next chart details the number of employees and their compensation levels at the end of 2013, but it assumes pay freezes from 2011 – 2013.

It shows $1.78 billion spent on 24,805 full-time equivalent positions*, for an average compensation of $71,759.73 per employee.

Going from $60,039 a year to $71,760 a year, that's a 19.5 percent increase in pay and benefits for the average employee in just four years.

During the worst economic downturn in recent memory, as Nevada lost 170,000 jobs, the average CCSD employee, including teachers, administrators and support workers, had his or her salary and benefits increase by nearly 20 percent from 2007 to 2011, which was right during the heart of the economic downturn.

Keep that in mind the next time a CCSD employee claims they aren't being paid enough. Did the "average" worker in your company get a 20 percent salary increase in the last four years?

This also explains, but doesn't justify, why school districts and elected officials claim education is facing cuts, if school districts don't receive as large of a spending increase as they want. When salaries and benefits make up 89 percent of your budget and those expenses are going up by four to five percent a year, even a two percent funding increase is going to produce a "shortfall" if you aren't honest about the cost of compensation increases.

In that case and going forward, it's incumbent on elected and school officials to explain what's happening with contracts, and let the public understand that while taxpayers are facing job losses or reduced pay or hours, teachers and other CCSD employees are receiving raises of four to five percent every year.

That will give citizens the information they need to accurately evaluate the compensation of CCSD employees and claims of hardship from teachers earning $82,000, $93,000 or even $100,000 a year.

*Note: The chart on page 8 deals with the number of employees in 2013, but assumes the same salary per employee as in 2011. (If CCEA wins arbitration, the cost of wages described here will be even higher over the next two years.)

Since an increase or decrease in the number of employees would produce a corresponding increase or decrease in total compensation, it's reasonable to project that the average compensation in 2011 was around $71,759.73, even without knowing the exact number of employees or cost of compensation.

So, while I can't claim that $71,759.73 is to the penny accurate, it is a fair and reliable way to support my central claim here – that the compensation of the average CCSD employee has increased by nearly 20 percent in last four years.