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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, May 14, 2010

Maybe they thought of this question already ...

by folkbum (with corrections ... because at 6 this morning my brain was SERIOUSLY misfiring)

... but Erin Richards can't report the full transcript of all 7 hours of meeting. Anyway, here's my question: How does MPS expect to furlough all of its teachers for two days at the same time as it expects to lay off 400 substitute teachers?

Actually, the smart answer to that question would be that the furloughs would be required to be taken on two of three paid holidays during teacher convention in October. (MPS teachers work on a 191-day contract: 180 teaching days, five "banking time" professional development days, one work day in August, one record day in January and another in June, two days to attend the state teacher's convention, and three holidays one holiday.)

But the thought of furloughs here actually highlights the idiocy of using the benefit-to-salary ratio as some kind of reasonable metric for determining whether teachers are compensated too much. The ratio predicted for next year (some explanation here) is 74.2%, meaning for every dollar MPS spends on salaries it will spend 74.2 cents on benefits.

However, if you cut teachers' pay by two furlough days, that benefit rate jumps to 75%, even though total compensation decreases. And you can bet your sweet bippy that if the furlough days go through, the next round of budgeting/ contract talks/ bad news will prominently feature the new and improved 75% benefit rate as the villain, even though total compensation will have fallen.

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