Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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December 14, 2017

9/6/2013 12:32:00 PM
There are stories behind the numbers
Two Cents, by Tim Timmons


A newspaper study said that a bit more than half the people who read a newspaper do so for the advertisements. The publisher in me relishes that. The old newspaper editor in me cringes. What? You all aren't buying The Times to read every word we write?

Who woulda thunk?

Apparently, more than half of you.

Amongst those valuable ads of late have been a fair amount of public notices from our local schools. The state of Indiana requires that schools, along with most government agencies, put their budgets and performance reports and such in writing and in a neutral place where the public has access to them. Doing so adds transparency and kind of keeps everyone honest. Sure, they could post the info on their websites, but that would be a little like the fox guarding the henhouse, don't you think?

Faithful readers of The Times have probably noticed a lot of those public notice ads lately. And if you have read every word of those, then you can skip the rest of my babblings. But if you want the condensed version (kind of like the method I used back in Mrs. Heath's class) then tag along.

We don't have the time and space to go through every school, so let's use Noblesville High School as an example. It's not the biggest school in the county, nor the smallest. You'll also notice that we're only going to discuss positions, not names. The point is not who is being paid but rather what is being paid.

Let's start with how much teachers get paid. A new teacher with a bachelor's will make about $35 grand. Not bad. Not lavish. Probably good enough to help them get started paying back those student loans. On the opposite end, teachers with advanced degrees and lots of years can make around $70k. That may sound like a lot of money to some, not so much to others. The view from my little corner of the world is that our society tends to get it all wrong. We pay entertainment folks millions and the people who teach and protect a lot less. But that's a column for another day.

Let's take a look at the extracurricular monies.

In addition to their teaching salary, the head of the English department gets an extra $4,400 while the head of the math department gets $3,300. Ha! I knew English was more important in spite of Mr. McBride's best efforts.

Moving along, the six staff who head up the academic competition team make between $1,755 and $1,348.

I couldn't find the music and band directors. There are a lot of fancy names in academic circles these days. But the music vocal director earns $3,638 as does the music instrumental director.

Over in sports, the football coach and the boys and girls basketball coaches make $8,308 each. The baseball coach and volleyball coach are paid $4,542, swimming $5,707. The head of the cheerleaders gets $4,542.

Near and dear to my heart, the Millstream and Shadow heads get $1,348 and $2,471. And let me point out that the newspaper is lower. What's up with that?

In all, there are hundreds of positions and salaries listed. It's all right there in black and white. And again, just my little take on the world but let's look at how much money they're really getting. Per hour. Say a season, from first practice to the state tournament, lasts 16 weeks. During that time, let's say the team either practices or plays five days a week (although some do six). Let's say that the coach puts in four hours a night (and that's conservative) and another 15 on the weekends (again, probably conservative). Now let's say the coach is paid $4,500. That means they work 35 hours a week for 16 weeks, or 560 hours. Divide that into the pay and it looks like they're making about $8 per hour.

It's far worse for a department head. They're getting three to four grand for the entire school year. And listen, I sat through a high school department head meeting once. Egads!

It boils down to the fact that a part-time job at McDonald's probably pays better, and I'm sure has a lot less stress.

Don't take my word for it though. The information is out there in black and white. I hope you take the time to give it a read. And don't forget to thank our state lawmakers for making it available. After all, whether you agree the money is well spent or not, it's still your money.






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