Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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May 6, 2021

9/5/2013 4:57:00 PM
There are stories behind the numbers
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 Paper 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 Paper 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 then tag along.

Here in Montgomery County, you'll find the numbers are similar. Makes sense, the school sizes are as well. We don't have time and space to go through every school, but we'll share a few specifics. 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 teacher with a bachelor's and year or two under their belts will make between $33 grand and $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 $60k. 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 a department like English, math, science, etc., earns anywhere from a couple thousand bucks to close to four.

I couldn't find the choir and band directors at North and CHS. There are a lot of fancy names in academic circles these days. But piecing together the various music titles and salaries, it looks like band and choir directors earns a few thousand bucks extra.

Over in sports, the head football coach at North makes $7,800 with Crawfordsville next at $6,355 and South at $5,160. The varsity boys and girls basketball coaches make exactly the same. Swimming coaches get paid $2,562 for boys and the same for girls at South. North is $3,374 each and CHS is $4,070.

The head of the cheerleaders gets $3,970 at NM, $2,024 at Crawfordsville and $626 at South.

Near and dear to my heart, the newspaper and yearbook heads get anywhere from $957 to $2,550.

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 someone like a coach is 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 $3,500. 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 $6.25 per hour.

It's worse for a department head. They're getting two to three 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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