The Elephant in the School Board Meeting

Scott Niederjohn [PDF File]:

These requests were overwhelmingly rejected by the voters with more than 70% of ballots cast as “no” on each of the measures. Perhaps voters recognize that many school districts are ignoring the elephant sitting right in their meetings.
Data from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) database show that teacher health insurance costs have grown much faster than teacher salaries in recent years.i In fact, the average annual Wisconsin teacher health benefit costs in 2002-2003 were over 46% of the average annual base teacher salary. In 1984-1985, health benefit costs averaged just 14% of average annual teacher salaries. 2001-2002 data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Wisconsin provides the second most generous fringe benefits in the nation, in terms of per-pupil costs, for teachers. Only New York teachers enjoy more lucrative benefit packages than educators in Wisconsin. In 2001-2002, Wisconsin taxpayers spent an average of $1,397 per pupil on public school teacher benefits while the national average was $884 per pupil.