Mad as Hell – Teacher Compensation

As a reminder, there is another school budget vote this Tuesday. Please mark your calendars. Even though the proposed budget increase is more modest, my recommendation is to vote NO because they haven’t fixed underlying problem: runaway compensation and benefits, which are now an incredible 80% of the budget.

Teachers are underpaid, right? Without answering the question myself, I will lay out the facts as specified in the the 108-page BTA contract. I invite you to come to your own conclusions. If you don’t believe anything below, you can read the contract yourself here.

– Starting salaries range from 62-72k. Raises are roughly 4% per year. These raises are protected by something called the Triborough Amendment, something unique to NY State. Triborough says that even if the union can’t come to an agreement with the BoE on a new contract, teachers get to keep their raises – forever. (This gives unions little incentive to negotiate.)

– Teachers get tenure after 2 years, meaning they can never be fired unless their position is eliminated (e.g. the BCSD stops offering, say, Italian). This is job security for life regardless of performance.

– Teachers receive Cadillac health plans (including dental) for their families, into which they pay 15% of the premiums, unless they were hired before 2010, in which case they pay nothing.

– The work week is a maximum of 35 hours, inclusive of “office hours, meetings, and prep time.” Nothing may be scheduled after 3:30.

-The work year is a maximum of 183 days (36 weeks), but from this you can subtract:

  • 15 sick days (up to 35 if you were hired before 1998)
  • 5 bereavement days
  • 3 religious holidays (in addition to the usual ones)
  • 4 personal days


– If sick days are not used, they go into a “bank.” This bank is paid out in a lump sum at retirement.

– Teachers can take off one year out of every four for “Personal Reflection Years.”


– There are a number of ways to earn extra comp during the school year. For instance, helping with sports, plays, or activity groups all come with extra pay. Examples: $1448 for overseeing the literary society, “Clay Club,” “Cup Cake Club,” or Whiffle ball. $4500 for directing a play. $4,000 to $10,000 for coaching a sport.

– Teachers receive a life policy equal to their peak salary. Premiums are fully paid by the district.

– On retirement, in addition to receiving a payout on unused sick days, teachers receive a lump sum equal to 1% of salary for each year of service.

– Teachers may retire at age 55 or after 25 years, whichever comes first. They receive a pension equal to 75% of their peak salary for the rest of their lives, in addition to health benefits for their families.


I have nothing against teachers (I was one, for a time), but they are represented by a bullying union that they are forced to join, and it is bankrupting our district. Please vote Tuesday.