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Low salary rankings a sticking point for Frederick County teachers

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Due to have her first child in June, Urbana Middle School teacher Nicole Long has considered the costs of day care, plus mortgage, car payments and other bills.

She’s leaving Frederick County Public Schools for Montgomery County, estimating she can earn at least $16,000 more.

For years, Frederick County’s administrators and teachers union have lamented the district’s relatively low starting salaries for freshman teachers, which they say prevents them from recruiting and retaining superior teachers. Later in their careers, too, Frederick County teachers depart for districts offering higher pay.

School district data obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request and information from the union show that Frederick County offers the state’s lowest starting salary for new teachers with a bachelor’s degree.

Generally, Frederick County teacher salaries rank low in Maryland, even with a master’s degree and other graduate-level training. Frederick County teachers rarely earn more than the state average until they’re in the classroom more than 25 years.

This year, Superintendent Terry Alban initially added funding in the district’s operating budget to revise the scale and offer a more competitive starting salary, although she identifies other advantages to working in Frederick County schools.

The union and teachers have criticized the previous Frederick County Board of County Commissioners for not going beyond minimum funding mandated by law, even with years of a budget surplus, resulting in teachers not receiving “promised” raises.

Salaries and morale

Long recalled friends and family telling her she was lucky to secure a Frederick County teaching job in 2008, when the economy was crashing. She remembered feeling especially fortunate that the district would pay for her master’s degree.

In subsequent years, though, the district wasn’t offering teachers a “step” increase on the salary scale, and gave no raises in fiscal years 2010 through 2012. The fiscal year begins in July.

A step was offered in fiscal year 2013, but delayed for three months. At the same time, teachers’ insurance premiums increased 8 percent and they were forced to take a furlough day.

The pattern continued in other years. Teachers either received steps coupled with higher insurance premiums or a step was postponed.

One year, they received a 1.1 percent cost-of-living increase, but insurance premiums rose 2.8 percent. Most recently, teachers received a delayed raise in December, but insurance premiums again jumped. Teachers at the peak of their pay scale actually lost money, said Melissa Dirks, president of the Frederick County Teachers Association.

“And some people literally just saw what was $4 more in their paychecks,” Dirks said. “Every year we got something, we lost something.”

At the same time, teachers grappled with rapid changes to the education landscape.

The state moved to more rigorous state Common Core Standards, and the associated assessment, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Increased class sizes meant less one-on-one time with students, wearing on teacher morale, Long said.

“And the uncertainty of it at all,” she said. “Eight years ago, a lot of teachers made personal decisions thinking they were going to be a certain step on the salary scale.”

The price to the district

Frederick County teachers fresh out of school with a bachelor’s degree start at $41,259. The highest pay is in Baltimore City, at $48,430. Montgomery and Howard counties follow, at $48,048 and $47,351, respectively.

Salary scales increase with a cost-of-living adjustment, and step increases move teachers up the scale, Dirks said.

A majority of the teachers hired every year are new graduates, according to Dirks.

College graduates unfamiliar with Frederick County focus on what they’ll be paid, Alban said in a phone interview.

“They equate that with how much the community values education and values schools,” Alban said.

But teachers also look further ahead, Dirks said. After 10 years, Maryland teachers must have a master’s degree or equivalent college credits to retain their license. New teachers research what they’ll make with a master’s degree.

Teachers’ salary scales are divided into three degree tracks: bachelor’s, master’s, and master’s with 30 additional credit hours, most of which must be graduate-level.

Many teachers strive for a master’s plus 30 credits as soon as possible to maximize pay, Dirks said.

But even Frederick County teachers on that top track generally lag behind the rest of the state, regardless of experience.

Only in their 25th year are Frederick County teachers with a master’s and additional credits paid more than in most other state jurisdictions, although they still fall behind salaries in much smaller counties, such as Queen Anne’s and Charles.

A Frederick News-Post analysis of school district data shows that about 66 percent of Frederick County public school teachers earn less than $69,999 annually.

Teachers have publicly cited stagnating salaries as a reason for leaving Frederick County.

In 2014-15, 31 teachers left for other school districts in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

In Loudoun County, Virginia, teachers earn $47,975 in their first year with a bachelor’s degree, according to an online salary scale. In Fairfax County, under a 260-day contract, that same teacher would earn $55,776.

“I don’t think people want to leave, but I think when you’re looking at what you can get in another county, it’s a lot of money to walk away from,” Long said. “When you’ve been working for longer than 10 years and not always seeing much of a gain, people are starting future planning and asking, you know, ‘If this happens again, how am I going to retire?’”

‘Acrimonious relationship’ with previous county commissioners

Dirks pinned the flaws in the salary scale on the previous Board of County Commissioners funding the district at the legal minimum, known as “maintenance of effort.”

Most of the then-commissioners did not hide their disdain for the union, Dirks said. She called the commissioners’ funding an “ideological decision,” not based on what the county could afford.

She cited a 2012 example, when commissioners sent $100 tax-rebate checks to homeowners, an expense of $6.7 million. She said the money could have been channeled to the school system or to agencies facing budget cuts.

In an interview, County Councilman Billy Shreve, a Republican and member of that board of commissioners, said his board gave a lot of money to education.

Funding was at the maintenance of effort level, but Shreve said commissioners provided one-time cash infusions for specific purposes. In fiscal year 2013, they funded $1.3 million for wireless internet access in schools. The next year, they approved $1.6 million for school bus radios and $1.5 million for other technology.

In fiscal 2015, a $1 million allocation was paid for more technology.

Shreve recalled that the commissioners were denied in their request to have Blaine Young, then the president of the commission board, try to help fix the salary problem by taking part in contract negotiations.

Shreve defended the $100 rebate checks, saying more than $6 million was pushed back into an ailing economy.

The school board allocates money the county provides, Shreve said. The commissioners looked overall at funding across county agencies. He said police, fire and rescue workers’ salaries should be compared to those for 10-month teachers.

Starting hourly wage for a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy in the new approved county budget is $22.85, or $47,521 a year.

“If the teachers’ union wants to solve the problem, come talk to us and solve the problem,” Shreve said. “They shouldn’t argue their ineffective past negotiating and try to argue that in the media. Sit down and solve the problem; don’t pin it on anyone else. They were unsuccessful in getting what their teachers deserve.”

Keeping teachers in Frederick County

Competitive salaries have become critical, Alban said, and doing so means developing a new scale.

The union and the school district reached a tentative agreement on what that scale should look like, Alban said. She wouldn’t identify when the new scale might be announced.

The $13.8 million that she proposed adding to the district’s operating budget, in part to help revise the salary scale, dwindled to $6.1 million after the school board made cuts to balance the draft budget.

A step increase for all district employees costs a little more than $10 million. In other jurisdictions, it’s cheaper, Alban said.

Alban offered a sports metaphor to describe why high-quality teachers are essential: First-string players go elsewhere without competitive salaries. She doesn’t want the second or third strings.

“I want the superstars,” she said.

Alban has asked early-career teachers how the school system should market itself, if salaries can’t be a top draw.

She described the district’s health care benefits as “middle of the pack” compared to the rest of the state.

The district offers tuition reimbursement for a master’s degree, as well as specific courses for teachers in their first three years, Alban said. Professional development courses in other jurisdictions aren’t geared for brand-new teachers, she said.

Frederick County also has school-based mentors and, in Frederick, a “cool” downtown, Alban said.

Sometimes, perks are intangible, she said.

“We’ve heard how friendly that our [human resources department] was when they came in for interviews. … They just felt a genuine warmth and they feel like that it’s a good place to work,” Alban said.

Recent Hood College graduate Shannon McHale, a New York native, will teach in Frederick County next year.

She said salary isn’t everything for her. She taught as a substitute in Howard and Montgomery counties, but chose Frederick County out of seven districts that extended job offers.

“I’m a long-term substitute at Hillcrest Elementary and just the camaraderie and determination between all the teachers and administrators really made a big difference for me,” she said.

Community roots keep some long-term teachers, such as Chris Hause, a teacher at Green Valley Elementary School, who has lived in the county for decades.

“People who are here want to help kids, want to help educate children and do it within their own community,” Hause said.

Hause said teachers are frustrated and must mobilize to get politicians to listen. On election days, Hause said, she distributes the “Apple Ballot” of union-endorsed candidates. She tries to encourage donations to the union’s political action committee.

“We do it because we love it,” Hause said. “Nobody gets into education for the money. I hope the public would understand how much time it takes out of teachers’ lives, away from their families. We work really hard for what we do.”

Follow Jeremy Bauer-Wolf on Twitter: @jbeowulf

(156) comments

pilotguy299

Part of the problem is that the BOE and FCPS isn't so transparent about how funds are being spent. Funds get lumped in to fuzzy categories which aren't really explained in enough detail for anyone outside of FCPS to understand and either agree or disagree with. For example, FCPS has allocated over $1 million for "Community Services – activities provided by FCPS for the community other than for public school activities." What does that specifically mean? And why are they doing that? Do they even have the authority under Maryland law to fund non-education related programs? If it's not directly related to educating children, shouldn't the funds be used to increase teacher salaries instead? Our tax dollars given to FCPS to educate our children, should be spent on educating our children.

JamusWilson

Until the teachers make an issue of all the money being wasted at FCPS and all of the 100,000 administrators being hired, nothing will change. Get a backbone teachers and start letting the public know the truth of what is going on at FCPS.

des21

Interesting but obvious aspect missing from this article is the correlation (or lack thereof) between teacher salary and student performance. If high teacher salary led to high student achievement, Baltimore City would have the highest performing students in the state. It doesn't.

The author should have obviously focused on where Frederick students stand in achievement, not where their teachers do in terms of salary. As a parent of students in FredCo schools I have been delighted with the quality of education they receive- my only complaint is that they still use the "schools without walls"- yet another silly vestige of the 1970s.

Two other point as a 50 year-old teacher who changed subject matters (and levels) after 20 years to refresh myself, I can tell you that it is often the 25 year-olds fresh out of school and still passionate about education that you want teaching your kids, not the 35 or 50 year olds who are tired and stale and motivated by more money. Teaching is a vocation, not a job. Money is important but, in this field, its not the most important thing. If your child's teacher is motivated by money, well, you may be better off with someone else.

Finally, simply examine inner city religious schools (often catholic) that pay the least whose students do the best. If there is any further evidence between the LACK of a link between salary and student performance I don't know what it is.

HappySeller2014

You raise good points. Just be careful, as I would also argue the reason kids are doing so well in Frederick County is that their parents are doing a mighty fine job of raising them. I do believe the parents of Frederick County, in many ways, make it a pleasure to teach their children in this county...although some parents are also hopeless. There are many studies and strong correlations that show a child's success at school starts with their home life, and a good breakfast every morning.

But, I do not mean in any way to take credit away from FCPS teachers. I am proud to know so many good ones teach my children, and do a darn fine job of it.

HappySeller2014

Baltimore City Schools CEO announced late Tuesday afternoon layoffs looming in near future. Originally 54 central office positions were being targeted, but now being expanded to school employees as well. Expected layoffs to occur before fiscal budget year starting July 1st.

Baltimore City sitting very high in the starting teacher pay salary chart. Hmm. Folks in Frederick County all upset and yelling about lack of FCPS pay raise. 60 miles down the road, folks in Baltimore City all upset and yelling because they are losing their jobs.

Whose life would you want to trade with over the next few weeks?

Charles_Nelson_Reilly

The beauty of the free market is that it allows individuals (in this case teachers) to seek higher paying jobs if they choose and offered the position. That's how free markets and capitalism works. Which is ironic because most in education would rather have the gov't force taxpayers to foot the bill for larger salaries because they feel they're entitled to it.

As far as MoCo schools go, they are a complete mess. Trust me, my spouse works for them. The teachers, even though paid better than FCPS are constantly complaining about the kids, the admin, etc. Their budget/balance sheet is in total disarray and they pay many in excess of $100k who shouldn't even be employed at a McDonalds, much less educating children. Follow their model and you'll go off a cliff.

harty16

'most in education would rather have the gov't force taxpayers to foot the bill because they feel they're entitled to it'

Actually, borrowing from a real free market sorta idea here, when two parties enter into a contract wherein one party agrees to pay x amount over a period of time, in exchange for goods and services; I guess, weirdo that I am, I tend to believe that contract should be honored.

hayduke2

Trust me, my spouse works there.... I know many MoCo teachers and they would not support your statement that schools are a mess. An extremely large school system doing an excellent job...

des21

I work there too Hayduke. Your wife might want to check out the MCEA discussion room. The vast majority there acknowledge MCPS has serious problems. That doesn't make us haters, just realists- well paid realists though.

HappySeller2014

I basically agree with jgros79. Ridiculous to require a Master's degree after 10 years of work. A Bachelor's degree should be sufficient, and much education should be starting in the home anyways. If four years of college preparatory work to earn your teaching certificate and BS degree and become a teacher is not enough, something else is driving this train.

As for ridiculous, FCPS kids go to school this year until Friday, June 17th. My brother's kids in a Virginia county get out next week. I have a relative near Cleveland whose kids get out this Friday. In Cleveland!!! Same # of school day requirements. What is up with that?

In eight weeks after June 17th, my kids will be back in school. Why? Every other week their teachers have a day for vacation or a teacher work day or a conference session or a planning session or an in-service day. Their teachers, on these days, are not teaching. Come on. And I am not counting half days due to scheduled early dismissals or late starts.

My kids are in school from 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM daily and that includes a lunch and recess period. Those are the times the school bell rings. That means, on a daily basis, my kids' teachers still have 90 minutes a day to build to an eight hour workday like I have. And I do not get my summers off, nor two weeks off during the Christmas holidays, nor a week off during Spring Break.

OK, I will give them 15 minutes before and after the day starts and ends to continue monitoring the kids...that still leaves 60 minutes of down time daily. I could only pray for a miracle to have 60 minutes every one of my workdays to plan, get away from the hubbub, and not have to do what I was hired to do in my professional salaried job! What is it with all these "teacher in-service planning days?" At my job, I am lucky to have five minutes alone in my office when I arrive or get ready to leave...all other time (except my lunchtime) is spent directly working what I was hired to do.

Again, all this salary chatter is smoke and mirrors. FCPS needs to return its focus to our Frederick County children. All this complaining falls on many deaf ears to most other Frederick County salaried professionals in other professions and work settings.

linoscra

60 free minutes? Really? I put in close to 10 hours a day in the building (2.5 hours are unpaid) and I still don't have enough time to do all the planning, grading, parent meetings, paperwork, filing, cleaning, etc that I would ideally have done before school starts the next day. Those conference days and teacher work days are the occasional bone that FCPS throws teachers where we are paid to meet some of the many requirements we have. I don't complain, I love my job and give it my all. I'm just trying to point out a reality to someone outside the profession.

And to the other point I'm seeing, I can say I'm a much stronger advanced placement and honors teachers after accumulating more than 60 credits of graduate study. Do you want someone less qualified teaching your students?

hayduke2

Haters gonna hate. Sorry that you do not value education and those who strive to educate our children.

HappySeller2014

Not a hater my friends. And I very much appreciate and value my kids' teachers. I have two siblings and their spouses who are state public school teachers.

When I was in high school I took a bunch of AP classes. I firmly believe teachers are well qualified with a BS degree. Unless you are going into administration (oh no), how much more education do you need to teach AP History or AP English or AP Calculus or anything? Mathematical equations have not changed in hundreds of years, once history is made it is set in stone, and Shakespeare is Shakespeare.

The argument more education in the form of a degree is needed, and helps on the pay scale, is simply a union position. Take 40 to 80 hours of continuing education credits every year and you will be just fine. FCPS should pay for it, so not on your dime.

I respect teachers that put in 10.5 hour days. I have done so quite often in my non-teaching career, as well as 50 to 60 hour weeks from time to time. And not asked for a penny of overtime. Why? Because (a) I want to keep my job, and (b) my job is to get my job done. My days of counting work hours ended with my high school and college part time jobs. As long as a salaried professional does not confuse being busy with being productive, your job at the end of the day is to get your job done.

My siblings work their butts off. They also freely admit they have the gravy train at times. They love to remind me often in late June and all throughout July. But I still love them and they still love me. And we all loved The Lord of the Flies, which was taught the same way year after year after year to each of us.

I value an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. No less. And no complaining if on a salary scale.

hayduke2

So you think that teaching currently is the same as it was in 1960? Nothing changed since then, huh?

HappySeller2014

Since the 1980s, nothing has changed so much in curriculum that a smart teacher with a BS degree cannot adapt to, or learn. If you do not think so, you are discrediting all of our good teachers and not putting good faith in them.

The only "common core" I knew of in the 1980s was all of the finished apples the neighbors' kids and I finished at the nearby orchard. Teaching children how to succeed in life has been a common theme in teaching since the dawn of time. My children will run circles around common core kids in a few decades, as they are also taught life-long lessons at home also.

Cars have changes a lot since the 1980s too. You drive an unsafe car out of the repair shop and your life, and the life of your family, is in peril. You see techs receiving 30-60 semester hours of additional college training? But, you trust your life to them, don't you? A successful tech is a life-long learner from his/her job.

Blaming curriculum changes is a cop out. Kids these days are being shortchanged. Return to teaching practices in the 1980s and you would see a noticeable positive difference. The "entitlement mentality" would disappear.

hayduke2

Your argument is suspect - you don't think auto techs take continuing education classes... Not blaming curriculum but you seem to think education and those who practice that art can remain stagnant. So very not true?

Are you implying your kids will be superior because you home school them?

HappySeller2014

hayduke2, you assume too much. I do not assume teachers should remain stagnant. They should actively seek and obtain outside learning opportunities or on-the-job education as much as possible. Anyone worth their salt in any profession would do the same. 40 to 80 hours of continuing CPEs a year and a competent teacher can stay on top of things.

And yes, my kids will be successes because their parents are successes, and success breeds success. If I sat around waiting for everyone else to make my kids successful, I would be waiting a long time. Thank goodness my kids are surrounded by very competent teachers, as they make my job a lot easier in raising them. You assume I home school and again you are wrong. My kids have been FCPS taught since day one in school. And I am very happy with my local FCPS elementary school.

Can I assume you are a bit bitter?

hayduke2

Didn't assume anything - was asking a question since you made such a point of how your kids will be so successful.... Glad your kids are successful and glad your kid's teachers are great. Too bad you feel they don't need to be compensated. So those 40 to 80 hours are just donated time - while many teachers do just that I think it is reasonable to be recognized and compensated for those efforts. At this point, no argument will sway either of us.

HappySeller2014

I do agree we disagree. I believe in the free market and that teachers are fairly compensated. It appears you do not believe teachers are compensated enough. It is up to the teachers individually to decide what is in their own personal best interests. However, complaining when 30-40 people will apply for a job you vacate, coupled with the expense of more taxpayer dollars being spent, is not the answer.

If your answer is to go teach in Baltimore City or PG County to make a higher salary no one is stopping you. In addition, no one is stopping anyone from continuing to teach in beautiful Frederick County either.

harty16

In the state of MD, teachers have 6 years to earn their Master's or their tenure is revoked and they will eventually be fired. Your complaint is not with the teachers, it's with the state of MD. Oh, and your last comment? 'No complaining if on a salary scale'? Yeah, about that, we are on a salary scale but the salary scale is an imaginary one because, as was highlighted, since 2009 the salary scales have not been followed. We wouldn't complain but for the fact that the agreed upon salary scales haven't been followed for over a half a decade now and there is little evidence that the folks who control such things have any immediate plans to do so.

JamusWilson

Teachers only have themselves to blame for allowing the Central Office to run amok over them, while hiring 100,000 dollar administrators and cutting teachers. When you give a 2% raise to someone already making 100,000 thats a 2,000 dollar increase. For a 41,000 dollar teacher its a 800 dollar increase. And the Fat Cat Administrators just keep getting fatter, while teachers fall behind and work longer hours.

phydeaux994

OK Happy Seller, what about your doctor or dentist or lawyer, shouldn't a bachelors degree be enough for them too? It's funny, when the U.S. Educational System is discussed here, folks are upset that we're not in the top 10 in the World. But discussing teachers salaries, many aren't willing to pay the price for the best teachers. You can't have it both ways. And if your siblings who are teachers are bragging how soft they have it, they must be part of the problem.

hayduke2

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

HappySeller2014

Doctors and dentists should have advanced degrees. Lawyers, no.

My siblings are happy with what hey have. They love what they do, get much personal satisfaction, and do very well. They do not complain, as they know if they leave, 40 applications will be filed to backfill their vacant positions.

I am willing to pay for good, competent teachers. Much of my kids' success will come due to their home environment for their first 18 years, alongside their success in school due to their teachers.

You constantly chase the best, you turn out like the New York Yankees, paying top dollar for everything and getting nowhere lately. We do not need new York Yankee teachers, we need good, competent ones. And active and engaged parents.

You can chase the best at the taxpayers' dime. Unless I have cancer, I am not seeking the best. As for my dentist visit, I just want a good teeth cleaning and polishing, and I will take care of the rest at home twice a day. Give me a competent teacher, and I will raise my kids alongside them to be future successes. Hey, then they can apply to the best Ivy League schools!

DickD

The "teacher in-service planning days" have always bothered me too, we certainly never had them. We went back to school the first Tuesday after labor day and usually got out around June 25th. Many of our teachers worked at other jobs, during the summer.

jgrose79

The problem is the union. Pay raises across the board aren't solving the problem. Some want their cake and to eat it too. That's the problem with unions. Who gets the money and why is it that a new employee will get s pay rate increase along with every other teacher who may not be doing as well? Why is it that 20+ year AP art teacher made $104,000 a year and still the union demands a pay scale increase for all teachers? A very easy way to solve this issue is for the BOE to be able to come up with a plan to help lower income teachers earn pay rate increases while higher income teachers may or may not receive such a pay rate increase or as often. If you want to retain the next generation of great teachers perhaps rewarding them should be a priority instead of rewarding everyone on equal levels when they may not deserve the same rewards.
I grow tired of hearing about how hard it is for teachers when many of us have had it just as hard if not harder starting out. We don't have off in the summer where we could add extra income. We don't have the many vacation days built into our work year either. We also didn't go to a college to earn a degree for expensive costs for a job that doesn't pay top dollar. Many teachers are going out of state for college? Why? Spend more money and owe more for an education degree? That's a waste and not anyone else's problem but the person looking for the job. They mention personal debt in this article but the FNP doesn't ask about college expenses? That's disingenuous to say the least.

hayduke2

If you can't figure out that student debt is the personal debt they are talking about and the fact that someone who continues to educate themselves, improve their knowledge and skill base and dedicate themselves to being a master educator deserves to be compensated, then you have no business raising tired old arguments and half-truths. I grow tired of folks demonizing unions and educators.

jgrose79

Actually it isn't a half truth. I see the same problem in construction. Yes, I have a degree in construction management. I went to a very affordable college and worked full time while going to school full time. Imagine that. I didn't blame anyone for the cost of my education. I also didn't expect my company to shell over funding for furthering my education which I have. I did it on my own because I knew it would help me. The educational requirement for a masters degree is a joke. It's one thing to stay up to date with new teaching techniques and certifications. That's fine. I just do not see an added benefit for taxpayers to be forced to pay for such education of said teachers. If you want more pay, then pay for further education. It shouldn't be a requirement. Especially when you are talking about elementary educators. Degree programs are way overrated. Congrats to anyone who has decided to further their education, but I regard their opinions no differently than that of any educated person with a basic degree for becoming a teacher. As in most trades you perfect your craft with experience. It far outweighs further education. The only possible craft I could see requiring extensive amounts of additional education requirements would be anyone in the healthcare and science fields. Although many of these folks learn more from working with others as well. Providing our children with the best education to steer them in the right path is necessary. Their teachers being required to send tons of classroom time themselves after earning a four year degree is pretty pointless. The people waiving that carrot are those setting the rules of the game. It's an easy way to say no to pay raises by requiring onerous tasks be completed. Teaching our children with their four year degree should be enough. If it isn't then I would suggest the problem is in our colleges and universities. I wouldn't want to pay $20-$60k a year for a degree from a place that doesn't educate well enough for me to teach children in K-12.

hayduke2

Spoken like someone living in the past. I too paid for my own college expenses while working summers in a steel mill - great story but not relevant to this discussion. If you think that education doesn't change and require specialization, upgrading skills, and continuing to expand a knowledge and skill base, you obviously don't know teaching. I have 30+ years of experience and continue the quest for knowledge - no one pays for my extra cost doing this. Its easy to disparage and throw darts when you aren't in someone else's profession and its obvious that you really are not speaking from any facts, just a misguided opinion. It is also obvious, not surprisingly, that you have a problem with education in general.

Green_freak

There is a large number of teachers living in Urbana that work in Montgomery County. Some work just south of Urbana, while some travel as far as Gaithersburg or Silver Springs. The money and benefits are just that much better.

Also, they get paid for 10 months out of a the year. They can either save some from each pay check or work during their "summer off". So drop that argument it is completely invalid.

Also, there isn't a way to compare them to other people with degrees working for a living in Maryland. Teaching is not like any other profession. They work in different schools, with students of differing socio-economic backgrounds and school conditions. If all schools were 100% a like then it might be possible, but schools in Bethesda don't compare to schools in Frederick.

HappySeller2014

First, the cost of the new Myersville Fire/Police/Town Administration Building has nothing to do with this discussion. Only the new FCPS downtown administration building warrants mention, as it clearly shows the discrepancies between ridiculous wants and verifiable needs in out Frederick County education community...and how out of whack priorities currently are.

Second, if you have a keen eye when looking at the misleading bar chart, if the FCPS starting salary was raised by only $3,000, Frederick County's ranking in Maryland would improve from 24th to 12th. A 50% increase for only $3,000. And the cost of living, commuting, etc. is much lower in Frederick County than many, many of the Maryland counties ranked higher. Funny how none of this is never mentioned in the article. Just people's bills...

People who slap gift horses in the mouth tend to get kicked in their behinds by hind legs in hindsight. Be happy folks, and if you really miss the $3,000, find some fun job that pays over the summer, have a few yard sales or sell some extra stuff through the FNP classifieds, or make you own cup off coffee in your own kitchen every morning instead of buying one in on the way to work.

Time to focus on our children. All of this other chatter is simply smoke and mirrors, complaining, noisemaking and grandstanding.

bveverka47

Some people think they are always right no matter what. Some people like to brag. Some people like to hear themselves talk. I think you are one of those people. Glad your children are wonderful, we work with many children who are not fortunate as yours seem to be from you statements. You have no idea what teachers and assistants do for their students because they generally don't brag about it!

bmclearen

Something isn’t right when we want to pay low end wage earners $15/hour ($30,600 yearly) but are only paying our beginning teachers a salary slightly over that of our low end wage earners. Perhaps we could retain our teachers longer and provide our youth with a better education if we gave newly hired, as well as current teachers a one-time signing bonus equal to what they paid for their post high school education + a contract guaranteeing them a yearly pay increase based on their performance + the cost of living increase. This may sound like pie in the sky, but there are a lot of businesses that do just that and not only retain their employees longer, but get a better work performance along the way. Lastly, I don’t really understand why we want to purchase a tank to use by the police and an in-town hotel/conference center for meetings that most likely will be used by city/county employees, but we don’t want to pay our teachers a living wage.

pilotguy299

Slightly? 34% more than "low end wage earners". And it's for 10 months of work, not 12 months like your "low end wage earners" would have to put in. I agree that teachers should be paid more, but $10,659 is not slightly more.

bmclearen

When u consider that teachers are usually at least in their mid 20's and have at least a 4 year degree, the amount you mentioned really is only slightly more than the beginning lower end workers who may not have a degree and likely not the skills expected of a teacher.

hayduke2

More like 26%

pilotguy299

26% ??? Let's do the math... 30,600 x .26= 7,956. 30,600+7,956=38,556. 30,600 x .34=10,404. 30,600 + 10,404 = 41,004. Closer to 34% don't you think?

hayduke2

30,600/41259 = n/100 equals 74.16. So the 30,600 is 74% of the larger salary or 26% less....

Veritable

Republican counties pay republican salaries and get low-end republican results

LeonardKeepers

the teachers boo hooing about low wages in frederick county well they could do ok with what they are getting in frederick county by controlling their i wants and i gotta have this and that.they are saying they can get more money in other counties again i have to ask is it worth the time and worry driving from frederick county to the other counties to teach.yes the school board went far overboard in what it cost to build the new administration building. it is time the teachers stop their boo hooing on how much they earn in their profession.

Veritable

lol

Veritable

lol stay poor and you'll be fine.. great advice!

DickD

Work in a Republican County and work for peanuts! lol

HappySeller2014

About five years ago over $20 M was spent on a brand new FCPS administration building downtown. Frederick County taxpayers will undoubtedly be paying the debt service to carry the construction loans for many years to come.

And now, complaints about teacher salaries?

You can build a brand new building downtown, but my children and my neighbors' children attend a FCPS elementary school without solid walls - just expandable partitioning. Many of my friends' children learn all day in portables in many locations across the county.

Each FCPS opening is met with dozens of applicants. Travel to another Maryland county to work, and the costs in additional gas, car maintenance, and the value of your personal travel time will eat up any increase in pay. Be careful what you ask for.

In some cases the lag in annual salary compared to other Maryland counties is only a few hundred dollars. A few yard sales and hey, things are not so bad as they seem. Plus, like many of us yearly 12-month salaried folks, you do have some summer months to supplement your 10 month FCPS salary. As a child in the 1980s, many of my local county teachers in Virginia took summer jobs.

Time to return focus on the learning needs of our children. Not fancy buildings. Not adult administrators. Not 10 month contract employees. Time to focus on the KIDS.

And FNP, get you chart sizing on your X and Y axes straight and representative of what truly is going on, not the misrepresentation of scale as is currently shown. You should know better.

FrederickCountyGOP

In hindsight the 20m used to purchase the administrative headquarters for the public school for the county was a bargin compared to the Myersville Municipal Building used by fire/police.

DickD

What does the Myersville Municipal Building used by fire/police have to do with teachers salaries or are you just complaining about everything to do with taxes?

rpkrauss

I don't like it when people play loose with their numbers. A quick search of the FNP archives reveals the following; 1) The FCPS Administrative building was opened on July 1, 2010 (closer to six years ago. Planning and design began in 2002 (14 years ago during a housing boom)
2) The cost of the building was 14.7 million dollars (not "around" 20 million).
3) This cost has been slightly defrayed by the sale of 3 old, energy inefficient properties that the the school board used to house its offices in (a fourth property is still on the market . The money of the sale of these buildings goes to the county not the school board.
4) All that said I still don't know whether the new location was the best choice or not butttttttt…
Stop beating a dead horse and if you can't do that get you numbers right.

HappySeller2014

OK, I was off by a year. My bad.

But $20 M+ is a responsible "forest" versus "the trees" look. I agree the baseline planning going and building costs were approximately $14.7 M, as reported by the FNP. This does not include the debt servicing costs for the financing.

In addition, approximately 10,000 square feet is unfinished and unfurnished...reserved for "future growth." Is that space going to become hospitable for future employees simply by waving a magic wand?

Either 10,000 square feet will one day be determined to have been wasted or unnecessary, or expenditures will need to occur to finish the building and furnish it.

One must be careful what he/she reads and believes. You could be being led into a trap. No one builds a new house with an unfinished basement expecting in 10 years for the underground level to be magically transformed into living space. This is not how the real world works. But, try it if you do not believe me. I also have buddies in Boston who worked on the BIG DIG and can give you an earful on cost overruns and inflation as well.

rpkrauss

I care for neither "big digs" in Boston nor Bridges in Brooklyn, we're talking about the cost to build a building in Frederick which was 14.7 million dollars in a time period from 2002 until 2010 which is when this building was planned, designed and built. When a house is listed it's not listed as price plus debt service. Cost plus debt service is the future value of your payments (or if you're optimistic the future value of your investment) regardless the future value of a dollar is less than the present value which is why debt service is not included in present value costs. Enough accounting 101 my points are 1) please stop mistating the cost 2) The people who put this project into motion (past school boards and superintendents) are mostly if not entirely gone so stop blaming the people currently in charge and 3) the time to complain about this project was 14 years ago when it would have made a difference. Complaining now is, as I've already said, "beating a dead horse".

HappySeller2014

But you pay taxes, right rpkrauss? Future costs for my house are borne by me. Future costs for the new FCPS administration building are borne by all of us in Frederick County. $20 M + is actually conservative.

It is nice when you pay off your car and have no car payments, right? I do not believe FCPS had a bond issuance or debt servicing costs in 2009 or prior years for this new building.

A school bus gallon of gas is a fixed consumable cost - once paid, it is consumed. For this new FCPS administration building, as a taxpayer, I am more interested in lifecycle costs and not only what I am paying now, but what I will be paying as a taxpayer in the out years also. You should be also, if you are a taxpayer. If you live your financial life only two inches in front of your nose you like living dangerously.

When you have some free time, ask for a tour of the unfinished 10,000 square feet. I am curious how you would finish it, how you would furnish it, and who would pay for all of it.

rpkrauss

I've only been in the unfinished part of the building once, that was to sort and package school supplies for the homeless coordinators in FCPS. Based on what I saw I doubt finishing this section would cost anything approaching 5.7 million dollars (the difference between $20 million and 14.7 million.. I suspect $500,000 would finish it and furnish it but I'm no contractor. I am by nature a frugal person, I plan for the future and budget accordingly. One thing I don't do is get stuck in recriminations of the past. I take the lesson learned and move forward. In the case of this building my concern was location not cost. The previous FCPS buildings had reached the ends of their life cycles and the board was faced with a decision between relocation or costly renovations. If you want to go back to 2002 and do a cost benefit analysis of those choices be my guest (I would find it fascinating). Instead you choose to use hypothetical numbers to disparage people who had no say in constructing the building you're complaining about. This is a disingenuous narrative that does not help address the issue of teacher pay.
My question is this, what do you propose to do with the "new" building. Please address the following constraints. 1) selling the building would probably result in a loss because I doubt you could get the payoff price for it. 2) as much as you dislike administrators (including payroll. Resource maintanence, human resources, IT management, as well as curriculum specialists and the dreaded clerical staff) where would you house them? Remember a central location is necessary to serve all FCPS employees and three of the four previous properties have been sold so new facilities would have to be acquired.
It costs a lot of money to run an organization like FCPS and the people who run this system make easy targets, especially when you second guess decisions that were made many years ago in much different economic climate.
We live with the choices we make and we're going to have to live with this one. Perhaps in 20 or 30 years when the school board is looking for new administrative building options you will have a chance to inform that process. Until then let this go it doesn't help anybody and it just sounds like sour grapes.

HappySeller2014

I agree to disagree but you make valid points. This albatross around our necks is not going away.

Options could be to set up a magnet school to siphon off kids from overcrowded schools in the unused space. Or set up a specialized program for challenged learners in the unused space, again freeing up overcrowded schools. You can do a lot with 10,000 square feet, or you can do nothing with it.

Plenty of vacant buildings existed in Frederick City back from 2002-2010. We have had a huge vacant mall on the Golden Mile for years now - with some minor rehabbing it would have been move-in ready. And a huge movie theatre venue for large conferences and a large indoor walking corridor for promoting employee health to boot!

Another option would be to swap out the finished space with the portables, to make for a richer, state-of-the art learning environment for Frederick County children. Simply move the administrators into already existing portables - and they could even be close to where the rubber meets the road! Portables are easy to hook up together - construction crews do it all the time on big construction sites.

hayduke2

Happy - sorry you hate your job

HappySeller2014

Come on. I love my job. And your one and two sentence replies to everything remind me of a whack-a-mole at the summer carnivals.

pilotguy299

31 out around 3,000 teachers left for other school districts, which is only about 1.03%. Not quite crisis level.

Shakey70

I don't disagree with you that a very small percentage leaving for higher salaries is a crisis level but it is bad for morale when pay is lower than your neighbors. And I'm completely confused by your comment about "the real world." Teachers don't live and work in the real world?

Veritable

only because many couldn't find jobs elsewhere... but we're supposed to accept this?

pilotguy299

lots of people can't find jobs elsewhere. MoCo has 40+ teacher vacancy announcements open right now, many for multiple locations.

elymus43

Lennie was right with his comment. All of the other counties pay more so the teachers should stop whining here and put resumes in the other counties. They have college degrees, why don't they go out into the real world and work???

shiftless88

Basically you are arguing to have the worst teachers come here and the best going elsewhere. That is not what I want for our county school district. We could and should be the most attractive school district in the state to work for. The existing infrastructure, the slightly lower cost of living than MontCo and Baltimore while also being relatively close to DC (and therefore often close to the job of a spouse) are our inherent strong points. Now we need to sweeten the package. Why anyone would want to have a school district where the best teachers aren't lining up to teach is beyond me.

hayduke2

What do you do for a living? Bet you wouldn't last a week in a classroom.....

Veritable

lol... leave if you can, or be willing to stay here vastly underpaid!.. well said angry internet man

pilot25

Did the FNP do a cost of living adjustment when factoring in locations and salaries of the schools? Being that the FNP is a liberal media outlet I'm guessing they didn't.

Veritable

lol

jthompson

Familiar with the teacher salary matters since my dad was FCTA president in '67-'68. A few items: 1) the County Commissioners seldom won the political/PR battle with the BOE/FCPS over this issue. We'll have to see if charter makes any difference. 2) BOE/FCPS could easy raise 1st year teachers' salaries from existing funds were it not for its policy of giving across-the-board pay raises to all employees (not just 1st year teachers) or no raises at all. Under that policy, in order to give 1st year teachers a 10% raise, the County would need to give enough $$$ to fund a 10% across-the-board increase for all BOE/FCPS employees. Even the most ardent of libs would likely concede this is not a cost efficient way to address the problem. 3) must compare other counties' unfunded liabilities for retiree heath care benefits (i.e., the same unfunded liabilities that sank General Motors, Detroit, etc.). Very easy to give big pay increases when you ignore adequate funding for retiree benefits. While BOE/FCPS has a way to go on this one, its funding progress has been much better since 2010. 4) Most importantly, given brief attention spans and short memories, the side that make its argument in the shortest time in the fewest words usually wins the political/PR skirmishes. To test my hypothesis, please acknowledge if you read this far.

stevemckay

I always read every word from you Lenny!

BlueDawn666

Me too...Lenny gives great and very intelligent insight into the matters of Frederick County.

dagcolby

I always appreciate your perspective, Lenny!

DickD

Thanks, Lenny, I did read it and there is room for adjustments.

tonyc51

Read every word, twice

swankytom

We miss you, Lenny. Please run for BOCC.

WalterOlson

Back to school for your graphics department on the "bar charts baselines must start at zero" rule: http://flowingdata.com/2015/08/31/bar-chart-baselines-start-at-zero/ http://www.storytellingwithdata.com/blog/2012/09/bar-charts-must-have-zero-baseline

public-redux

See also the book "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" by Edward Tufte for all around fantasticness.

bosco

How much did/is that new headquarters cost? Everytime I drive by it I'm reminded of the importance of the teachers and their pupils in relation to the administrators.

Frayou

👍👍

Lailawatkins15

I would love for you to come into those headquarters and see how many people actually work in that building. Fake walls a fluorescent lighting are extremely luxurious comparatively to our schools.

hayduke2

Huh....

bosco

Put the superintendent and administrators in trailers for a while and see how they like it. Oh, I forgot, those are "Learning Cottages".

jerseygrl42

Acknowledging the fact that first year starting salaries in Frederick are lower and that needs to be addressed, however the bar chart is so out of proportion as to make a joke of this issue, the chart indicates that the bar for Baltimore city is 600% higher for Balt. than Frederick when the starting salary differential between the two is only 17.3% and have to wonder why you would print such erroneous info....and when one factors in safety for the teacher, that 17.3 % becomes minuscule and if you look at the departure rates from the two systems you will quickly see that the abuse teachers take in Baltimore's system from so-called students far outweighs the minor difference in pay and I'm speaking from experience here.....and the theory that throwing more money at failing schools is the answer to improving performance, is a useless effort, as Baltimore spends per student the 6th highest amount nationwide with one of the highest failure and dropout rates ....the desire and discipline must start in the home and when it does not there is little hope for the youths let alone the poor teachers

FrederickCountyGOP

The conditions on the ground in Baltimore are the result of demographic anomalies caused by poor parenting and ignorance hallmarks of an inadequate commitment bt taxpayers to public education, vocational and faith based community self help programs. Frederick County is on the same path.

hayduke2

Jersey, you state " I'm speaking from experience here" Please elaborate.

FrederickCountyGOP

FCPS teachers should purse a career in law enforcement instead of education that way they won't have to worry about pay raises or job security.

jerseygrl42

those working in Balt. City already are in law enforcement and w/o combat pay

FrederickCountyGOP

Frederick County is on a Baltimore path if it continues to make inadequate investment into education. Demographic trends don't lie as the school performance decline the free lunch population in Frederick has been increasing and so has public safety cost. Productive county's have productive partnerships between local law enforcement and the schools for the greater good of the children unfortunately we have and adversarial and contentious relationships in Frederick County.

kimberlymellon

September 8, 2009 - Sheriff Jenkins tells the Board of Frederick County Commissioners he'll cross the road to the Board of Education and "Kick the doors in" and bring teachers to the table to accept pay cuts. "I hope we won't have to go there, but we may." "I think the board of county commissioners needs to be prepared to take on the fight with the Frederick County Board of Ed and slaughter the sacred cow".
https://youtu.be/1yA-Tq0WdeE

This man is the root of the problem. From his bully pulpit, he has steered the county commissioners to do everything he wants to militarize the county, discriminate against our international workers - services and sciences, and preach his fear and hate to congress and anyone who will listen to he and FAIR, and put his sheriff's office above education of our children. I say this as an advocate who has also pushed to ensure that off duty sheriffs and police are also provided extra pay to protect our citizens at school events and participate in schools to help our children learn they may trust, rely and consider worthy careers in law enforcement.

But enough already. We are spending millions annually to defend this Sheriff's corrupt programs discriminatory actions against our own immigrant citizens. Take the money and put it back into our schools and teachers before even our STEM scientists and engineers pack up and move their families too. PLEASE!

DickD

Billy Shreve is your typical politician. He says we have made a lot of investment in the schools. Well, over half of the County budget is for schools, any nincompoop can see that. We are talking about salaries for teachers, Shreve is talking trash.

threecents

Editor, I like how you have the Y-axis on your graph only go from 40 - 50 K to make even small differences look dramatic. Good newspapering.

Boyce Rensberger

Agreed. This is an example of innumeracy at the FNP. And it shows that their graphic artists don't understand the power of graphics. The bar for Baltimore City is almost six times taller than that for Frederick County. But the true numerical difference is only about 17 percent.

This is the kind of thing that gives newspapers a bad reputation among those who understand numbers.

bosco

Figures don't lie but liars figure.

shiftless88

Actually, I think it demonstrates that their graphic artists DO understand the power of graphics. Many people may not really notice that or grasp the significance.

des21

Got to love that photo! It just says "snide!"

Tigerzord

Frederick County is a mess - I blame most of it on the previous BoCC - the damage Blaine Young, Billy Shreve and Billy Delauter have caused will have a ripple affect on all areas across the county - it will take decades to undo all the mess they caused. And to think we still have two remaining councilmen (Shrelauter) to hinder any progress with their childlike behavior - it's going to take even longer!!! Chmelik is no better! People PAY attention next election season! Attend a council meeting or two or three - attend BOE meetings and get involved.

FrederickFan

The county is recovering from the Young BOCC but now has to deal with the Young BOE. The County Executive and County Council have provided $10.5 million above Maintenance of Effort. The State also fully funded GCEI and provided at least $3.0 million more to the BOE. Why is only $6.0 set aside for salary improvements? This is the question for the Board of Education. Attend the Board of Education meeting this week and let them know that teacher salaries are a priority.

FyremanEd

I see about a 7-8 thousand dollar difference from top to bottom. If you don't like it then leave. See how much you will spend on travels expenses and maybe they will realize they should have stayed.

DickD

The teacher in Urbana would only need to go a few miles to Montgomery County, maybe an extra 20 minutes each way. For 7-8 thousand more a year, I would do it. Might be even better if you lived in Brunswick and went to Loudon County.

Duhh

Not if she gets assigned to a school in Takoma Park or Silver Spring

pilotguy299

IF there are openings in Northern MoCo schools. Current employees get first shot at those, so teachers from other school systems aren't the first to be considered for those slots.

hayduke2

Pilotguy - your statement is not true. Administrators interview and hire based on need and qualifications.

pilotguy299

@Hayduke2: It is true. Openings are made available to current employees first. If a principal doesn't select an insider or there are no applicants, then they are made available to people outside the school system. One of my kids is going through the process now with MoCo, and that's how it was explained. Even FCPS offers openings to internal candidates first, then makes them available to people from outside the school system.

pilotguy299

That's why MoCo has teacher transfer job fairs http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/personnel/transfers/ in the spring before they make those positions available to outside candidates. My child made the highly qualified list for MoCo, and was told that they would not be provided a list of vacancies until the second week of May or so.

hayduke2

Transfer fair is for teachers looking to move or returning from leave. New hires are then hired to fill vacancies. The administrator can hire off the new hire list once those folks are placed. An administrator has discretion and does not have to accept a transfer. Good luck to your child - Montgomery County has a lot of pluses

pilotguy299

So current employees do get first shot at those vacancies before new hires. Guess my statement was true after all.

hayduke2

Your statement will surely solve the problem.NOT. Where does your pay come from Fyreman?

pilotguy299

I think he means the difference between the Baltimore pay rate and the Frederick pay rate for new teachers with a Bachelors, which is $7,171. That sounds like a lot, but gets eaten up quickly if there are added commuting expenses, extra wear and tear on a vehicle, and the added time spent going back and forth. I wouldn't live in Baltimore for an extra $7,171, although some people may.

FrederickCountyGOP

There is no doubt a perception exists that FCPS are in decline and it's effecting local real estate prices. The Sheriff can't keep up with local crime without asking for and receiving increased funding to combat crime so naturally educators can't instruct and help product productive citizens without without the same level of commitment from taxpayers.

DickD

Do you have children in school and if you do, where do they go. All schools receive the same funding per pupil, but not all schools are equal.

FrederickCountyGOP

The defined public pension retirement model is dead in the private sector and it will soon be in the public sector. MD taxpayers can't continue to fund tens of thousands of democratic retired teaches now living in red states.

DickD

This is largely true and it will mean more cost to help senior citizens in the future and starting now too. Nothing to brag about for sure.

hayduke2

Not true. The pension plan would be in great shape if legislators did not use as their personal ATM.

des21

I believe the Maryland teacher pension fund (which is comparatively one of the worst teacher pensions in the nation) is fully funded.

johnqFrederick

Ground Hog Day -- did the FNP put any effort in their research or simply rerun the same BOE drivel they have published over and over for the last 20 years?

"Due to have her first child in June, Urbana Middle School teacher Nicole Long has considered the costs of day care, plus mortgage, car payments and other bills."

Once again -- it seems as though the FNP will denigrate current Frederick County teachers be stating that the best teachers are leaving the school system for higher pay/benefits in Montgomery County --

The Best Teachers are leaving??? so the FNP writer will insult the current teachers as what -- mediocre? lousy teachers? maybe more teachers should work a second job like Jerry Donald -- and legislate for higher salaries?

Like California? or Illinois? NJ? states that pay crazy salaries and benefits and then put their hand out to the DEMS to bail out their states with other peoples' savings.

FrederickFan

Great article by the FNP. How are you and your developer pals going to sell your houses if the schools are terrible?

DickD

When you get done ranting and raving, jq, let me remind you the students with the best educations come from states with the highest cost per pupil.

des21

Absolutely false actually Dick. Those states that spend the least per pupil tend to have students that perform best on standardized tests- an admittedly flawed measure but the only one we have to compare students between states and sometimes between systems. If what you say is true, students from NYC, Baltimore and DC would be the nations' best. Clearly not the case. Perversely perhaps there is an inverse relationship between spending per pupil and student performance. Much of that spending goes to remedialization, special ed. and sometimes extra security and also to help kids who's parents NEVER read to them catch up.

DickD

States, not cities, des and it is true. Although the student teacher ratio may be even more important. I will have to look into that.
http://www.nea.org/assets/img/content/NEA_Rankings_And_Estimates-2013_(2).pdf
U.S. average spent per student $10,834 fall of 2011 to 2012.
States with the highest expenditures, New York $18,616
Vermont $18,571
Alaska $17,032
Rhode Island $16.683

Lowest:
Arizona $6,683
Utah $6,849
Nevada $8,247
Oklahoma $8,285
Idaho $8,323


States with the Best K - 12 Education
The top scorers were New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and then Kansas. The site dubbed the areas with the worst school systems as Nevada, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and, lastly, the District of Columbia.

Of the states the site ranked in its top five for education, four of them were also in the top 10 for “Total Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Day Schools per Student,”.

Annie E. Casey Foundation, which found the best states for education were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut. However, the foundation found the worst states were West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/which-state-has-best-k-12-public-education-school-system-49508318
"Led by Connecticut, each of the top four states in our study is located in the northeast, and seven of the top ten are on the east coast," the article said. "Most notable among these states was the high rate of college-attendance. In New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut, over 70 percent of high school graduates attend college within 12 months of graduating." - See more at: http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/which-state-has-best-k-12-public-education-school-system-49508318#sthash.T0mMsAfm.dpuf

des21

States with the highest student performance tend to be in the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc., ) where the spending per pupil is among the lowest in the country. This has been true for about 35 years.

Your Mom might have told you, "money doesn't buy happiness." Well, neither does it buy student performance.

hayduke2

Another yada, yada, yada rant johnQless

melbell75

Teaching is a job and a half that it seems many people expect to be paid 3/4 of a job.

corgikid

Why hasn't Jan solved this problem? She's been in office for 2 years!

public-redux

TERC math! Love it!

FrederickFan

CE Jan and the County Council provided an extra $10.5 million over Maintenance of Effort and the state provided additional monies this year too. The Board of Education decided to reduce the amount of funding available to address salaries by funding other choices including at least one item not even in their budget request. Contact the elected Board of Ed members. This is a Brad Young and Liz Barrett problem.

DickD

A problem that was started many years ago and you had your people there that caused much of the problem, now you blame it on Jan after being in office about 17 months, which you call 2 years. You are just being ridiculous.

pilotguy299

What percentage of the total budget is made up of teacher pay, when compared to other school districts?

tonyc51

Also a comparison of retention rates for the various districts could be very enlightening when discussing this subject.

tonyc51

I believe that teachers are very important, and should be paid comparable salaries as are earned in comparable jobs in the economy. It would be interesting to see an analysis of results between the different districts such as graduation rates, test scores, discipline problems (student), salaries at various levels of education attainment, seniority and other quantitative measures in a comparison in addition to starting salaries to assist in understanding that greater starting salaries yield better results. Also should not all the benefits that are given to education professions be included when discussing this subject.
As stated in last several paragraphs, there are a lot of reasons other than salary which lead people to decide where to work.

DickD

Tony, your thoughts are good, but how do you compare students from different economic levels? We all know that those with more money will do more to help their children. For instance, a single mother does not have the time or money to spend with her children.

scottp999

Something somewhere stinks, Either in the stats, or in the spending. If Frederick has about the 4th highest property taxes in the state and we pay teachers with a bach, degree the lowest in the state, the there is something we are not seeing, either in a comparison of the schools administrative costs, the counties bonded debt, or something more broad in a comparison of what counties do, or are required to spend.

hayduke2

Property tax may be fairly high but we do NOT have personal property tax like many of the other counties so this is not completely accurate.

MMFNP

Just how much sense does it make for the 2nd largest city in Maryland and the surrounding county to pay teachers the 24th lowest salaries to our teachers?? That'sounds last place in the state! Want your kids to be last in anything? Keep salaries low. If you want excellence in education, science, technology, engineering, or math? Maybe you're electing the wrong representatives in city, county, and state government.
You can fix that by voting like you have a better education than your kids will get if you keep teachers feeling under appreciated and unable to sacrifice anymore of their already WAY TOO LOW wages. But then, I guess that new multimillion dollar hotel and conference center will fix all that with "trickle down" economics. We in the middle and lower incomes have been trickled on long enough.
Vote for change!

mikec

This article, while not news, is pretty sad. Based on taxes and cost of living, Frederick should be near the top in pay for the state- probably behind Montgomery, Howard, and Carroll. That we're ranked last is embarrassing. It shows that for too long county leaders have said education is not a priority. Thankfully, despite a lack of commitment from county leadership, we have many dedicated teachers who make-up for this. For too long county priorities have been focused on rolling out the red carpet for developers and builders and letting everything else suffer.

DickD

We did vote for change and we do have it with Jan and the four members of the Council that are doing their best. The other three need to go, Billy, Kirby and Tony

Cowell

This article fails to report the total income FCPS teacher earns if that teacher were to work in the private sector. Income (salary, pension, healthcare, etc.) more than likely would be closer to $58,000 year if other benefits were striped and paid into salary.

jjeeffff

The same is true in a multitude of jobs. Many (but not all) private sector companies provide some form of additional compensation such as paid days off, health insurance and even commuter stipends.

sevenstones1000

Yes but people in the private sector are also getting healthcare and retirement benefits. They don't get two months vacation, though.

Jleftwich

sevenstones1000 May 22, 2016 8:50am
Quote: "Yes but people in the private sector are also getting healthcare and retirement benefits. They don't get two months vacation, though."


Two months vacation...this is a pervasive response by those who (perhaps through no fault of their own) are ignorant to what teachers actually do during the summer months.

True, they have time off. However, many teachers get together, at school, to plan for next years curriculum. Also, a lot of necessary maintenance and major repairs are done during summer months. And, who do you think is most likely taking care of your kids at summer camps? Teachers. If they're not actually running an event at camp, they are probably the ones behind the scenes coordinating and planning.

hayduke2

Tired of hearing about two months vacation - This is UNPAID time....

badadrew

It may be unpaid however the yearly wage doesn't change correct? Using the base pay you would be making $4125.90 a month for 10 months or $3438.25 a month if you worked a full 12 months. Would you rather work 12 months or have 2 months off and save accordingly during the 10 month work period?

hayduke2

badandrew - do the math. Your estimate is based on gross (modestly subtract about 12,000 a year for state and federal taxes, health insurance, etc ) Take the remaining amount and divide it by 12 and then figure out the week amount of net income. I guarantee you it is not a benefit to have unpaid time and try to subsist....

DickD

Agreed and I am with you but it does mean that teachers are paid for a 10 month job, not a 12 month job. If you look farther at the time off with pay for holidays it gets even better. Granted teachers spend a great deal of time in preparation, some more than others. But it is also true in the private sector much work is done by salaried people that is not compensated for. In fact, it is sometimes the reason employees refuse a promotion because the extra pay isn't worth the extra time necessary to perform the job and meet expectations. One other item too, is many teachers can almost walk to school, if they choose. In the private sector that is almost never true, except in a few cases, where you can work from home.

hayduke2

Dick, what dream world is this from. Please don't comment if you really don't know what you are talking about. As far as many teachers can walk to school, come on man and get real. Teachers are paid a set salary for an agreed upon number of days, period. Time off is a misnomer - they are not paid for those days.

des21

Recovery time more like it. And most of us work during that "vacation time." Hardest job I'll ever love.

bgraub

You'll notice that the article compares the salaries of teachers across Maryland counties. Teachers in other counties also receive benefits.

DickD

Usually, benefits run 25 to 35 % of wages. At 25% it would be close to $51,000 and at 35% it would be close to $54,000, in Frederick County, for a beginning teachers salary with a BS or BA degree. It does make me wonder sometimes why we pay so much more for a higher degree, doing the same job. If you are qualified to do the job and are performing at the same level of competence, what difference does the degree make? Now, it is obvious, when hiring you want the best qualified and those with the higher degrees would normally be considered more qualified.

FrederickCountyGOP

When communities inadequately fund their local public education their public schools they should expect lower home values, less employment opportunites, higher crime, higher public safety costs and higher taxes shorty thereafter.

MMFNP

Doesn't your party always vote for lower taxes, pay, and fewer regulations? Who do you think you're fooling?

corgikid

But Jan's in charge now right?

FrederickFan

No one has given more money to schools than CE Gardner. The independently elected Board of Education led by Brad Young and Elizabeth Barrett have chosen not to give that money to teachers. They are the problem.

hayduke2

Cori- give the Jan bashing a rest.... Your responses are boorish....

DickD

Can't stand your crying, get over it, there will be another 6.5 years, get used to it. lol

johnqFrederick

WOW!
How profound!
How about this twist on it -- Baltimore City receives some of the highest DEM tax handouts for public education -- and what is their return on this investment? lowest graduation rates, highest crime in the state, highest poverty rate in the state, highest STDs, highest illegal drug use, highest number of families with single parent, and highest minority unemployment

Illiteracy is such wonderful gift from the liberal DEMs == just look at their current Mayor -- more evidence of incompetence

FrederickFan

Ok, let's talk about handouts. Your guy Republican Blaine Young, while President of the Board of County Commissioners, gave away $150 million of our Frederick County tax revenue to residential Developers in exchange for $1 million in campaign bribes.

threecents

JQ, If you were a teacher, would you rather teach in an inner city or in a well-off place like Frederick? Of course Baltimore needs to pay more for teachers.

des21

Combat pay.

jerseygrl42

you said a mouthful

ddegrangejr

I work for the county and have seen first hand how many employees leave to go 40mins down the road because they make so much more. Howard county is running an ad on 99.9 for hiring NEW teachers starting at $60K a year... Teachers with tenure can make much more. I work in wastewater and have seen many guys use Frederick County to get their licenses and then leave to go to WSSC or Montgomery County or some little city because Frederick will not move their pay scale to make it competitive. WSSC is close, in Germantown and starts at $26/hr where Frederick starts at $15/hr and keeps you at that rate for a minimum of 2yrs. How do they expect to keep employees if they won't bump pay to match counties close by? I guess they just like to keep wasting money by training employees for other counties. All this talk of county employee appreciation with very little action to back it up.

DickD

You are right, it reminds me of the farmer mentality, being unwilling to pay wages for good hard work, expecting to keep everyone on poverty wages.

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