News | Schools | Anderson | Breaking News
There is a math problem here.
Many parents on 10/28/2021 got a notification from the Anderson Community School corporation that they would be on e-learning today, 10/29/2021, because of an increased number of absences from teachers being ill. The teachers are sick, but not in the way you think of "sick." They are sick and tired of not being adequately compensated like the surrounding school systems. It is no secret that teachers have experienced changes in their careers, from the way they teach to the side-work tasks that have become commonplace since the pandemic. The teachers are also working off their contract from last year and must negotiate a new contract for this year.
Here is what we have discovered today, but we had to dig for it.
We sent one of our volunteer reporters to the administrative office today to get to the bottom of this, and no one was available; the doors were locked, and no one answered the phone calls we made to discuss the issue at hand. According to a Facebook post, the school system boasts about a 4% increase and an additional $10,000 in stipends with what appears to be broken up into several payments over the next two years. Still, it does not allow for any increase in wages next year. The deal would be attractive, but teachers have complained of an average rise in insurance premiums of 33%. Granted, insurance and everything has gone up. Teachers spend anywhere from $55,000 to $100,000.00 to become licensed teachers and play a vital part in our core future as a society; there should not be corners cut because this is us, as taxpayers.
Let's do the math!
If you make $40,000.00 a year and are offered a 4% increase in wages, that would mean you would make an additional $1,600.00 per year, bringing you to $41,600.00. Being that we are talking about a 2-year contract, we shall look at this over two years. That number is $83,200.00; if you took the stipend (which is a bonus), you would pick up an additional $10,000.00, bringing that number to $93,200.00. According to the research on google, insurance premiums show teachers with family health plans are paying an average of $104.88 per pay period, but if the insurance increases by 33%, that number would become $139.49 per pay period. (it shows they are paid bi-weekly) throughout 52 bi-weekly pay periods, this would mean they would see an out-of-pocket increase of $1,799.72.
Here is the clincher, the insurance rates can continue to go up, and the teachers will not see an increase in pay next year. The fear of not knowing what that number will show causes stress because the rise of everything combined with the insurance on a teacher's salary is already stressful enough. Furthermore, the stipends (bonuses) do not do anything for their retirement.
Compare this number to the actual number.
At face value, the deal seems great until you dig into it further. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), in its latest meeting on March 17, forecasted that the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) inflation rate in the United States would average at 2.4% in 2021. This number is predicated on March numbers, but in light of the supply chain crisis and current financial forecast that seems to be getting worse as the months go along, that number appears to be closer to 5.9%. In 2021 alone. We have all seen it at the pumps, our utilities, our insurance, and elsewhere. Groceries alone have almost doubled on most occasions. To put this in layman's terms, the funds are not going as far as they used to, and you do not have to be in education to know that. Even at 2.4% based on 24 months, they would still be at a loss at .80%. Using the numbers that we are experiencing, the increase would hurt them by as much as 8% of their usable income. (calculated at a progressive 5.9% inflation minus the increased insurance premiums, the loss of functional cash flow based off of $93,200.00 on 24-months shows negative equitable cash loss of -$12,125.00)
Understanding of finances:
AFT Local 519 believes there is an additional approximately $1,300,000 plus in basic tuition
support coming from the State of Indiana for the 2021-2022 bargaining year.
AFT believes there is approximately $2,000,000 in money coming from the referendum
dedicated to educational expenses this year.
AFT believes there is an additional $240,125 in special ed money coming from the State of
Indiana for this year.
AFT believes that the net effect of retirements/departures/new hires is an additional $107,000 in
freed up money from salaries for this year.
The sum total of these dollars is approximately $3.7 million in recurring money.
AFT understands that due to the premium increase, the school corporation will incur an
additional $2,800,000 in health insurance costs. AFT understands that due to this same premium
increase, an AFT member can expect less money in their take-home pay.
AFT understands that there are approximately $11,000,000 in federal ESSER dollars remaining
from the original $39 million allocated to the school corporation. These $11,000,000 are
available for specific costs incurred by the school corporation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
AFT believes that this money can be allocated to cover the stipends in its recent proposals and
mitigate the cost of insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AFT also understands that the
district realizes significant savings by allocating ESSER dollars to other costs incurred by the
school corporation, as the district is allowed to do by law.
Given the district's ability to use these ESSER dollars as described above, we believe that the
$3,597,125 in recurring money is available for raises.
Our proposals anticipate allocating only this recurring money without affecting the school
corporation's cash balance and/or any additional savings the school corporation has incurred due
to federal and state assistance due to the pandemic. Our proposal is funded by the additional
recurring money as well as ESSER dollars awarded by the federal government.
Here is how these numbers play out, if they take the increase at face value, and combined with the cost of inflation and insurance, the increase causes them to lose
There is more to this equation.
Most school systems stipend teachers additional funding during the tenure of the pandemic, but Anderson Community Schools Corporation teachers proffer that they did not receive any of those funds, that they were told they would discuss it at the contract negotiations. These teachers had to redefine the way they educate our children with e-learning and all worked throughout the pandemic, many reports that their workload has doubled, but the support has not been there. Many have spent their own funds to improve the educational environment for their classrooms.
Here is what was provided to us by an unidentified resource:
ESSERS Federal money to ACS-approx. $40,000,000
ESSERS I - $3,008,365.34
ESSERS II - $11,859, 565.11
ESSERS III - approximately $25,000,000
● The district has spent or allocated all but approximately $11,000,000
of the above federal relief funds without any of it going directly to their
employees without extra duties associated with it.
● There is approximately $1.3 million new, recurring money from
the State from the Student Tuition money that gave all districts an
increase to $7500.00 per student to allow for every teacher to receive
a raise this year.
● The approximately $2,000,000 ($1,963,744.40) referendum money
has not been used for a base increase since the referendum was
passed, and they continue to deny its use for this purpose.
● The district's cash reserves total roughly $10,000,000. This is
DOUBLE the standard recommendation for an 8% safety net of
the total budget.
● The AFT hired a neutral budget consultant to review our
proposals, and he agrees they would not disrupt our district's financial
● We have worked over two years dealing with the pandemic
(quarantines, illness, jeopardizing the health of ourselves and our
family members, extra duties, professional development, learning
new techniques and ways to teach, etc.) without receiving any compensation for it, unlike many other districts across the State who were compensated with stipends.
● The district is choosing not to treat its employees as the
essential workers we have been and continue to be.
● We will not decrease our take-home pay! Insurance premium
increases will not be offset by the administration's meager proposals
to the salary base.
The future of our society lies in the hands of educators. There is nothing that you can invest in that is more important than our children's education. Taxpayers, this is one place we cannot cut corners here. The teachers are asking for the community's support to ensure they receive the funding that we, as taxpayers, have already paid. In the same situation, ask yourself how you would handle it if your finances were going to fall in reverse from being underfunded?