OUSD Pay and Benefits Analysis

So… the Fall 2017/Winter 2018 escalation of certificated and classified contract negotiations in OUSD prompted me to do some analysis of the OUSD budget, focusing in particular on the growth in pay and benefits over time.

A short “cheat sheet” of the results of that analysis, prepared for November 2018 “Superintendent Forum” meetings – is here.

A more detailed summary of that analysis, is available here.

Full details on this, including data from Transparent California, data from OUSD’s budget documents, my own spreadsheets, some documents outlining my analysis and a PowerPoint presentation I gave (at least, the first 8 slides…) at the OUSD School Board in the November 14th, 2017 meeting are here.

My notes from that meeting are here.

If you see anything here that you feel is questionable or would like to point out any of the numbers you feel are in error, email me at ousd@maddisonweb.com.  I’d love to be able to fine tune the data if possible.

Methodology

My analysis begins in 2012 (the end of the 2011-2012 school year), for two reasons.

First, because the next year – 2012-13 – is the first year that the tax revenue increases from the passage of Proposition 30, called “Education Protection Account” funds (EPA) became a factor in the district budget.

Second, because 2012 is also the first year that data is available on pay and benefits through the Transparent California site.

A quick summary of my findings are:

  1. From 2012 through 2016, OUSD’s cost of pay and benefits rose by $42.3 million PER YEAR, or a 31% increase.  This is approximately 7% per year.
  2. In this same time, according to the Social Security Administration’s “Wage Index”, the rest of the US has seen pay increases that total 9.8% during this time, for an compound annual average of 2.36%/year.  This means the OUSD pay and benefits are rising at a rate about 3x faster than “everyone else” in the US.
  3. Some of the OUSD increase is attributable to increases in staffing.  Since 2012,  staffing in all three areas – Administrative, Certificated, and Classified, has gone up (by a total of 179 positions, or 10.55%).  This increase in staffing is undoubtedly responsible for part of the increase in cost, however given that this increase is only 10.55% of staff (and new positions tend to be on the lower end of the pay scale) “added staff” is likely responsible for less than 10% of the cost increase.
  4. An analysis of the breakdown on a specific cohort of employees – those who were with the district in 2012 and also 2016, shows that pay and benefits are increasing for this group at rates that, for some employee groups, exceed even the overall OUSD rate. [for a description of my methodology in determining this, see this page.]
  5. For these “long term” employees, the largest increases are in Administrative pay and benefits – where pay has increased at a rate averaging 12.78%/year and “pay + benefits” at a rate of 13.20%/year.
  6. With those increases, we have seen average Administrative pay for this group jump from $83,355/year in 2012 to $134,858 in 2016.  Including benefits gets us numbers of $99,215 in 2012 to $162,925 in 2016.
  7. The Classified group has averaged 11.23%/year (10.91% with benefits), with an average pay going from $29,867 in 2012 to $45,720 in 2016, $41,170 to $62,287 (with benefits).
  8. Certificated has had the lowest average increase – 5.52%/year (6.89%/year with benefits).their average pay jumping from $76,529 in 2012 to $94,893 in 2016 – $92,144 to $120,289 (with benefits.)
  9. If the entire increase in pay and benefits had been held to the national average wage increase rate of 2.36%, OUSD would have an additional $25M to spend annually on “other things that improve education.”
  10. If the increase in pay and benefits had been allowed to rise at “only” double the average national rate (call it 4.73%), OUSD would have an additional $7M to spend annually on “other things that improve education”.

What could we do with that money?

The list of spending priorities we’ve identified in the LCAP process that would benefit from the availability of “a few million more dollars” is, of course, very long.

For a list of priorities that parents and other stakeholders have identified as key priorities, and how this money may have allowed improvements in those priorities, review the last section of my “Pay and Benefits Summary” document here.

This is just the math.

Fair Pay?

Initially I indicated I had no conclusion about whether the current pay plan was fair – to any of the employee groups – or sufficient to attract and retain the quality of employee we all want at OUSD.

Since then unfortunately I’ve been unable to really do any analysis on comparable pay rates for the Admin or Classified groups.  Obtaining market data for Oceanside on the comparable pay rates for similar job responsibilities would require both more inside information on what OUSD employees do as well as data that is usually only available via paid studies. HR departments have access to this data, however I do not.

There are, however, two relatively recent studies on Certificated positions.

Those studies (one by the Economic Policy Institute, one by the Heritage Foundation) can be found here.  

Both are far more national in their scope,both come to different conclusions, with the EPI concluding that teachers are underpaid (nationally, at least) and the Heritage Foundation feeling the pay rates were equitable.

Both are not particularly useful to answer the question specifically for Oceanside, however, so I’ve reviewed them and, in particular using some of the EPI study data combined with specifics from the California Bureau of Education and the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey have done my own analysis which is here.

Quick summary?

Teachers in Oceanside are certainly not overpaid to any great degree, however they are also certainly not underpaid.  I have no fear that we would not be able to keep and retain quality teachers at the current pay rates.

My opinion would be that we’re just about where we need to be, although if given the chance I would advocate for perhaps higher starting teacher pay (which, to keep the budget neutral and overall average the same, could be costed out from other parts of the step and column schedule…)