December 20, 2009

How Would a 3% Cut in Pay Affect the Nationwide Salary Ranking of Rhode Island Teachers?

Monique Chartier

To help cities and towns close budget gaps which might crop up in part by a proposed reduction in state aid, Governor Carcieri has suggested that municipalities around Rhode Island negotiate a 3% reduction in teacher salaries.

Carcieri said he wants teachers to make the same sacrifice state workers are making. He wants every district to reopen teacher contracts and get the unions to agree to salary reductions rather than increase property taxes, but he also recognizes it is up to municipalities to figure out how they will absorb the cuts. “I’m a big supporter of education,” Carcieri said. “But all we’re saying is, if people give a little bit this year and next year, we’ll hopefully get through this.”

What would be the impact on teacher salary ranking?

Currently, at $58,491, the average salary for a Rhode Island teacher ranks tenth highest. Subtract 3% and the result is $56,736. At that point, the average salary would slip past the average salary for Michigan teachers at $57,327 and Pennsylvania at $56,906, which would move up to tenth and eleventh highest respectively.

A 3% hair cut, then, would move the average Rhode Island teacher salary down from tenth to twelfth highest nationwide. That would seem to be within the parameter of "a little bit".

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What if a town just reopened and renegotiated the contract last year? He wants a town to do it again??

Posted by: Patrick at December 20, 2009 10:31 PM

Oh, that's not a good news for teachers.

But seems it is not a bad way to help get through crisis.

The policy maybe available in USA, but in China, that's impossible.

Posted by: Allen at December 20, 2009 11:09 PM

How much would we have to cut to achieve a respectable 24th place?

Geez, if 3% only drops it to twelfth, we're leaving way too much on the table.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2009 11:20 PM

Comparing the salary of any profession to a national average fails to take into account the cost of living differences. Regional comparisons are more appropriate.

Posted by: mikeinri at December 21, 2009 12:08 AM


Don't forget you have two teacher's unions in RI.

In Hawaii the GOP has lowered its ratings and is not looked upon favorably upon and has garnered national media attention and not so good words from the Sectary of Education thereby jeopardizing future state federal funding.

You see Republican Governor Linda Lingle wanted the NEA teachers to give up at least 3% or more pay in the form of Furlough Days to help balance the budget 2010/2011.

Governor Lingle set Fridays as furlough days for all teachers and state workers meaning 17 days in 2009 and 27 days in 2010.

Guess what? The NEA teachers and 7 other unions voted and said OK!

Now Hawaii has a school year (this year and next instead of 180 days) of 160 days and guess who is angry as a hornet's nest? The parents, special education parents have filed federal law suit, and Federal Sectary of Education.

GOP balancing the state budget on the backs of innocent school children by reducing educational school year when the President of the United States and Sectary of Education is pushing for longer school year.

GOP Governor Lingle indicated in the newspaper she underestimated the unions and is trying to readdress union contracts after the fact and it's become a total mess with the children; the ones losing out even though the state has the funds in the rainy day fund to put the children back to school or she could have specified paid holidays as non-paid furlough days.

Meanwhile public school parents are livid about having to find alternate educational means or supervision for their children on Fridays without impacting their work schedule. Also because there is no free school bussing in Hawaii, parents are angry about not receiving refunds for prepaid transportation funds.

65,000 tourist a day in Honolulu get a taste in the newspapers of what the GOP has wrought on the school children of Hawaii thus taking impressions back home to states and countries.

It's not good here in Hawaii and the GOP is really looking like the Grinch that stole education.

Posted by: Ken at December 21, 2009 12:46 AM

What's a "sectary"?

Maybe Hawaii could afford the education if people paid more than $100 a year for property taxes.

Posted by: Patrick at December 21, 2009 8:00 AM

Monique, despite what this study claims, average teacher salary in RI seems to be in the $70,000 to $75,000 range, well above the numbers that have been suggested. I have always marveled at how much lower all the national teacher salary data is compared to a typical RI school district.

Posted by: Frank at December 21, 2009 8:48 AM

Frank, where did you get those numbers from? 70,000 is pretty much the top of the scale for most districts, so unless they have a very senior teaching crew i don't see how those numbers could be correct.

Posted by: dickpeters at December 21, 2009 10:27 AM

Frank, that's not "average", that's top of the scale. Check the transparency train, they have the contract and the check registers. That backs it all up.

Posted by: Patrick at December 21, 2009 11:27 AM

Last year I painstakingly took data from Coventry off the OSPRI Transparency Train and determined the AVERAGE teacher salary to about $72,000 per year. And no, I do not believe that Coventry is an outlier. Look at the teacher salary data for yourself; don’t take my word for it.

And yes the mid $70s is the top of the scale for most districts. Most districts have at least half of their teachers at the top step or above. Don’t forget to add in all the extras. In Coventry some of them are longevity bumps (worth up to $4,500), curriculum coordinator (worth $7,500), National Board Certification (worth $7,500), Master Degree (worth about $8,000). The other districts are in the same ballpark.

Posted by: Frank at December 21, 2009 1:43 PM

Sorry Frank,you are wrong on this one. there are at least a dozen well thought of web sites that offer a much lower number. This is probably a case of you finding the stats that you needed to craft your argument.

Posted by: tusundias at December 21, 2009 2:00 PM

Really? There are a dozen "well thought out websites" that offer a much lower number for Coventry's average teacher salary? By all means let me know what they are.

Posted by: Frank at December 21, 2009 3:09 PM


"Sectary" should be Secretary!

By the way, I was educated in RI.

In Hawaii the school system is run by the state and financed solely by the state via income taxes, general excise taxes, permits and fees.

City and County of Honolulu property taxes are used to run the city and county and not the school system.

It is completely different type of government compared to how things are run in RI.

Posted by: Ken at December 21, 2009 4:08 PM
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