Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Wyoming Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 17•16

Like most of NEA’s small state affiliates the Wyoming Education Association relies heavily on national subsidies to maintain its current level of operations. However, its membership numbers have been relatively stable and it doesn’t share the budgetary troubles of many other affiliates of its size.

Total membership – 6,188, down 130 members

Total revenue – $3.1 million (69.5% came from member dues), up $88,000

Deficit – $57,000

Net assets – $2.2 million

Total staff – 18

Staff salaries and benefits – $1.9 million

Highest paid employee – Ron Sniffin, executive director – $119,180 base salary

Highest paid contractor – None received more than $100,000

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NEA PAC Hopes to Raise $185 Per Delegate

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 16•16

The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education is the union’s political action committee, and federal law limits it to collecting only voluntary contributions from members and their immediate families. This is enough to make the NEA PAC a significant force when it comes to funding candidates for Congress and the Presidency, but it has nowhere near the impact of the union’s SuperPAC, independent expenditures and ballot measure spending. This chart from Open Secrets shows the PAC’s income and expenditures over previous election cycles.

You will note that the PAC’s highest spending election cycle was 2010, which… was not money well spent.

In any event, the goal of $185 per delegate is well within its grasp, seeing as it raised $206.48 per delegate last year. Raising PAC money from delegates isn’t the problem. Getting them to attend the Representative Assembly seems to be. Last year attendance fell to 6,724. That number again would bring in about $1.25 million. That’s not bad for a four-day haul, but the RA is by far the PAC’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Without better attendance the NEA PAC will be faced with the bane of unions everywhere: demanding more and more money from fewer and fewer people.

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Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 15•16

The recent history of the Wisconsin Education Association Council is well-documented, having gone from 99,708 members in 2008-09 to 53,983 five years later. Payroll was cut commensurately, but virtually every dollar saved on laid-off staffers was spent on outside political advocacy groups.

WEAC sent an astonishing $4.2 million to the Greater Wisconsin Committee, more than $550,000 to We Are Wisconsin, and lesser amounts to other organizations.

Total membership – 53,983, down 11,760 members

Total revenue – $13.2 million (93.9% came from member dues), down $5.6 million

Deficit – $3.2 million

Net assets – $8.4 million

Total staff – 160

Staff salaries and benefits – $6.8 million

Highest paid employee – Robert Baxter, executive director – $150,739 base salary

Highest paid contractorMetro Industrial Areas Foundation – $180,000

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NEA 360 Is Spinning in a Circle

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 13•16

Click here to read.

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How to Solve the Teacher Turnover Problem

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 13•16

“The statistics for turnover among new teachers are startling. Some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years. In urban districts, the numbers are worse—close to 50 percent of newcomers flee the profession during their first five years of teaching.” So claims the California Teachers Association web site, arguing for higher teacher compensation.

But in one fell swoop we have virtually eradicated the problem in the state, merely by suggesting changes to the teacher pension system.

Researchers like the ones at TeacherPensions.org, a project of Bellwether Education Partners, have their own “half of all teachers” statistic, and it’s that “Half of all teachers leave the profession without a pension.” They recommend retirement plans with a level of portability.

These suggestions struck a nerve at CalSTRS, the state teacher pension fund, and in response Jack Ehnes, its CEO, penned an editorial headlined “Teachers Are Better Off With a Pension Than a 401(k).” That the head of a giant pension system should hold such a position isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the research he cites to support it.

Ehnes notes that pension reform studies “suggest that a large percentage of new teachers drop out early and don’t stay long enough to collect full pension benefits.” This is wrong, he states.

However, most classroom teacher positions in California are not occupied by those who leave after a few years, but by those who stay long-term. A recent study from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, titled Are Teachers Better Off With a Pension or a 401(k)?, analyzed teacher turnover patterns to project the number of years each teacher will work by the time he or she retires from California schools. The research found that 75 percent of teachers will spend 20 years or more in the classroom before retiring in their early 60s.

So to summarize: We need higher salaries because teacher turnover is high, but we shouldn’t change the pension system because teacher turnover is low.

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Police Blotter

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 10•16

From published reports:

* Ex-Broward Teachers Union chief Pat Santeramo loses bid to cut prison terms – “His life has been in service and he is continuing to be a teacher, a leader, a peacemaker, helping his community — even though it’s now the jail community,” Kuehne said.

* Martin County teacher, son accused of stealing from teachers union – “Marjorie Garland, a teacher at Hidden Oaks Middle School, had been the treasurer for the Martin County Education Association, according to Sheriff’s officials, and she and her son had been illegally withdrawing money from the account since 2013. In total, the duo stole more than $149,000 from the account through ATM withdrawals and online purchases, officials said. Pam Miller, president of the Martin County Education Association, wrote in a news release the financial loss will be reimbursed by state and national affiliates.”

* NYC correction union head, hedge founder face charges – “The longtime head of the nation’s largest municipal jail guard union was paid tens of thousands of dollars in cash, delivered in a Ferragamo handbag, in exchange for steering $20 million in union money to a hedge fund, according to a criminal complaint.”

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West Virginia Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci   Jun• 09•16

The West Virginia Education Association has lost members every year since 1998. Its total membership is down 34.5 percent since that year.

Total membership – 10,491, down 575 members

Total revenue – $2.9 million (78.9% came from member dues), down $229,000

Surplus – $281,000

Net assets – negative $206,000

Total staff – 25

Staff salaries and benefits – $1.8 million

Highest paid employee – David Haney, executive director – $109,093 base salary

Highest paid contractor – None received more than $100,000

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