by Dr. Larry Murray…….
There has been a lot of interest lately in government and quasi-government entities and the number of employees paid six figure salaries. FKAA has aroused particular attention for the number of employees paid over $100,000. Amidst all of this, no one has mentioned the School District. I suspect that MCSD has more personnel drawing six figure salaries than any of its competitors.
In late August, the School District decided that it was time to reward with raises its 54 top professional and administrative employees who are not part of the UTM bargaining unit. See the following list.
CLICK HERE TO SEE PDF FILE [YOU’LL BE ABLE TO ENLARGE IT]
A cursory assessment identifies 14 individuals, 25% of the cohort, who are paid in excess of $100,000. The top of the heap are Patrick Lefere, Executive Director of Operations and Planning, and Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, with salaries of $122,000. Nor far behind is another group of 14, or 25%, who make over $90,000 and will soon join the elite in the $100,000 plus bracket.
The above figures are raw salary dollars. They do not include the entire compensation package. MCSD pays benefits of over 30% of straight salary. Using that as the standard, anyone making over $77,000 in salary actually receives over $100,000 in total compensation. This would add another 11 individuals, another 20% of the overall group. That brings us to 70%, the percentage of administrators flirting with or exceeding the $100,000 threshold.
I think that it is quite evident that if you wish to make $100,000 either in salary or total compensation, the School District is the employer of choice.
While the focus has been on the six figure crowd, let us not overlook the teaching staff of nearly 600. Board Chairman John Dick recently announced the achievement of his major goal. Teachers in Monroe County are once again the highest paid in the state. This comes after plunging to number 3 during the recent housing bubble and the decline in property tax revenue that pays teacher salaries.
It is often said that you get what you pay for. If the teachers in our community are the best paid, does that mean that MCSD will be the best district in the state regardless of measurement? For example, will Monroe students score the highest, individually and collectively, on the Florida Standards Assessment? Will we have a higher percentage of students than any other county taking Advanced Placement classes and scoring higher than the statewide competition?
Whether we are talking about administrators or teachers, does high pay result in higher production? Are we, the taxpayers, getting what we pay for?