Teacher on Face to Face blissfully unaware of his own level of compensation

Victor Joecks

Here’s the perfect example of why the government salary information on TransparentNevada is so vital.

Last night on Face to Face, Jon Ralston had as guests, two teachers from the Clark County School District, Theo Small and Kathleen Galland-Collins. In the course of their conversation, Ralston mentioned that the teachers made almost $100,000 and $80,000 respectively last year, which Small, who made almost $100,000 in total compensation last year, vigorously denied. (12:47 mark)

Ralston: Listen, you guys are paid well. You guys [make] close to $100,000, close to $80,000 with benefits.

[Small laughs]

Ralston: That’s great, right? I think you should make that much money. Right? Why are you laughing? Those are good salaries. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Small: I don’t know what teacher you’re talking about that gets paid that much.

Ralston: Don’t you get paid that much with benefits?  

Small: I don’t. I wish I had that much.  

Ralston: That’s what NPRI says.

That’s not just what NPRI says on TransparentNevada, it’s what the Clark County School District says. That’s because all of the payroll data on TransparentNevada comes straight from government entities through public records requests.
If CCSD made a mistake, we’ll be happy to correct it, of course, but all we do is take the payroll information that’s produced by government agencies and make it easily available and searchable.

And that’s a very good thing, because if it wasn’t available to the public, Small would still be unaware that his compensation is anything but small. It’s quite large, in fact, $96,270.96 in 2011. That includes $69,666 in base pay, $3558.15 in “other pay” and $23,046.81 in benefits. As a teacher, Small also gets three months of vacation every year.
Now if Small is an excellent teacher, I have no problem with him earning this much – or even more – but parents and taxpayers need to know how much he’s making. Come to think of it, Theo Small needs to know how much Theo Small is making.

I’d bet many teachers and other government employees are also unaware of how generous their benefits package is.

For instance, as the CCSD salary schedule shows, all teachers receive a PERS contribution equal to 23.75% of their salary and insurance policy contributions worth $6,620. That means teachers are making between $14,858 and $23,072 in benefits alone.

That’s a lot of money and certainly not the norm in the private sector, especially at a time when Nevada’s unemployment is over 12 percent.

Next time, before a public employee comments about his compensation level, let’s make sure he actual knows how much he’s making.

And thanks to TransparentNevada, that’s easy for both the employee and the taxpayer to find out.