Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fact Checking the OEA Meme Campaign To Force Teacher Pay Raises


Because the OEA has spent significant time and taxpayer resources (Yes, how else do they get their funds? Teachers pay membership and teachers are paid by taxpayers.) creating this elaborate campaign to convince taxpayers it is necessary to tax the public to create a pay raise for teachers, I thought it might be a good idea just to fact check a few of their memes. Let's take the one above. 

Since 2008, public school enrollment has increased by nearly 40,000 while state aid funding has fallen by $213 million.

In 2008, Average Daily Membership (ADM) was 637,816. In 2018, ADM was 675,486. This is an increase of 37,670 pupils in 10 years - an average of 3,700 per year across 512 districts. That's an average of 7 pupils per district addition in 10 years.

State aid payments to public schools in 2008 was 2,426,867,542. State aid payments to schools in 2017 was 2,383,589,158.95. This difference is $43,278,383.05, not $213 million. This is a reduction in aid, yes, but only $64 per kid for the whole year - not $315 per kid for the year. So, $64 dollars is walk out money? But really, is $315?

Interestingly, this change also invalidates the 24% figure here. Funding is down .17% according to these figures.

Granted, I'm not sure where the OEA is getting their figures because THEY DON'T SAY, they just MAKE MEMES. I've linked to all the data I've collected, subtracted apples from apples and provided the figures. Makes me wonder where the OEA is getting their data though and whether or not they're comparing apples to apples.

I've compiled a list of all links and documents from the OSDE website that can be used to make these calculations here. Please use them to check for yourself. This blog also points out that there are so many funding streams it's nearly impossible to determine what they are calling "state aid". When the actual Oklahoma Public School budget is

By the way, how much money is OEA spending of teacher's salaries (paid by our tax dollars) on this elaborate campaign to get more money? That's a thought, isn't it?

Oklahoma has an education spending deficit of $1.3 billion dollars

In addition - according to the 2016-17 revenue and expenditure reports posted on the OSDE website, total revenue available for that year was $7,822,653,806.10 and expenditures were $5,225,013,164.05, leaving an OVERAGE of $2,597,640,642.05.

Now, I understand, this large overage probably has something to do with the fact that some payments get delayed and can't be reported at the time the expenditures have to be reported so they are reported on the next year - or some similar accounting mechanism. The point I am trying make here mainly is that nearly EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS in spending on common education seems mindboggling - especially when teachers say they aren't being paid enough. Nearly 8 billion dollars. Seriously. Why aren't we ever hearing this number?

Here the OEA says Oklahoma has a $1.3 billion dollar spending deficit. How? From where did these numbers originate? That's not what Revenue - Expenditures says for 1016-2017.

Oklahoma Is 49th In Teacher Pay

This number is always contentious because it comes from what all states pay their teachers. It is a problem number because not all teachers have part of their retirement and their own healthcare paid for by their state. In addition, the cost of living in each state is different and the cost of living determines how far your paycheck goes for housing, food, transportation, etc. Consequently, comparing state teacher pay is comparing apples and oranges on a very large scale.

According to a calculation done by this individual from South Dakota using READILY IDENTIFIABLE data so as to check his figures, Oklahoma is actually 39th when cost of living is factored into the equation. So, this meme - once again - means little because of the data from which it derives.

This Living Wage calculator says that to live in Tulsa for 2 adults the cost of living is $37,141. I honestly don't know how in the world food for two adults is $5500, however, so I'm not sure this is the most believable calculator. We have a family of five and it costs us about $1500 for food per month and most times we don't even hit that because we do most of our cooking at home.

But then, that brings in another point. Are taxpayers supposed to subsidize the way you WANT to live or the way you CAN live. Todays definition of poverty includes air conditioning, TV's and internet. The first is nice to have - and probably life-saving if you're elderly in the Oklahoma summers - but TV's and the internet are not.

Oklahoma's Per-Pupil Funding has been cut by 23.6% since 2008

Okay, here is a screenshot of the figures posted to the Department of Education website. I'm not doing the calculations because I'm not actually sure how they even came up with the figures to arrive at their final number. I'm pasting in the screenshot of the figures. All are within hundreds of dollars of one another. Consequently, I'm stumped. If anyone can figure this out. Please comment.


In Closing

There are good teachers out there who need a raise. The amount of garbage they have to put up with in their jobs is nuts - between state and federal mandates and parents. Still and all, this should be accomplished in the district of their employ and be between the Teacher, the Principal and the Superintendent. LOCAL ADMINISTRATORS NEED TO EARN THEIR SIX FIGURE SALARIES figuring out how to balance their budgets with raises included.

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