Update January 25th 2021 – Received the teachers contract from the BGSD after filing a Public Record Request. The file is 63mb in size so be ready for a BIG download. Here it is: 2020-23 BGEA Contract
Update Jan 20th – If you go digging on the Battle Ground Board Docs portion of the website you can find a copy of what the Board of Directors signed off on. Apparently it’s till a the “printer” being cleaned up and finalized. If you want to sift through the contact here it is for your reading pleasure: 2020-23 BGEA Contract Clean up
The Battle Ground Teachers contract ran out the end of August 2020. The bargaining process started earlier in the year and then seemed to stall. The school district added a webpage to allow the public to get a sense of what was happening that can be seen at: https://www.battlegroundps.org/bargaining/ Unfortunately the last update on that page shows communication through November 4, 2020. On Jan 13, 2021 we reached out to the Battle Ground school district administration asking for an update on the negotiation process since there were no updates on the website. We got a quick response: A new contract was reached in mid November and the School Board ratified the contract on November 23rd.
We then asked why the webpage hadn’t been updated and were told it was an oversight. We then asked for a copy of the contract and a financial impact analysis/review. After a series (12) of email exchanges we were told that the contract required some additional formatting and was at the printer and would be available in a week or so and that the website would be updated. Regarding the summary or review of the financial impact of the contract approval….we were told that there is none. That’s right. No document. No analysis. No summary of how much money it’s going to cost or how it will affect the budget. We expressed our concern and disappointment and asked how the school board and/or district leadership could operate without understanding the financial impact.
After some more email exchanges we finally got some numbers which we would like to share with you today.
Let’s start out with a link to a website that allows you to look up the salary of any Battle Ground School District teacher or administrator: http://fiscal.wa.gov/DVK12Salaries.aspx When we look at the data it shows back about 4 or 5 years. Take a look at salary changes (increases) over that period of time. You will find a number of salaries that have increased 40%-50% over the last 4 to 5 years.
You may want to read this document to get background on what the State of WA Legislature did in response to the McCleary decision: https://senatedemocrats.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/McCleary-Summary.pdf
In 2021 the estimated average expenditure per student in the State of Washington is $15,098 (https://www.publicschoolreview.com/average-spending-student-stats/national-data) With the McCleary decision and other changes it’s estimated that in the last 10 years the expenditure per student has doubled. Today school property taxes (state and local) comprise 52-54% of all property taxes paid.
It appears (we are still waiting for a copy of the contract – which we will add a link to here when it’s available) based on our email exchanges with the BG district leadership that:
- Salary increases are comprised of something called IPD (Inflation adjustment) and additional funds to be determined. IPD money may end up coming from the State rather than out of local levy money.
- The 2020-2021 salary increase = 2.4%
- The 2021-2022 salary increase = 2.0%
- The 2022-2023 salary increase = 2.15%
- We did get the leadership to say that the 2020-2021 dollar impact will be $1,070,677. We asked what the total salary pool that is impacted but didn’t get a number. However, using old fashioned math if we divide $1,070,677 by 2.4% we see that the total salary pool for teachers impacted by the new contract appears to be about $44,611,541.
- So for 2021-2022 $44,611,541 x 2% = $892,230 additional cost running the salary total up to: $45,537,431
- Next we take the $45,537,431 x 2.15% = $979,054 additional salary cost running the salary total up to $46,516,485
- The increased salary expenditures for the 3 years = $1,070,677 + $892,230 + $979,054 = $2,941,961
- According to the BG levy page: https://www.battlegroundps.org/levy/ the district has 260 MORE positions than the State pays for. The cost for those extra people come from the levy. Note: There is a 3+ min animated video that is very well done. Wonder how much it cost and who paid for it? (We asked but haven’t gotten an answer yet)
As we mentioned some or all of the salary increase money may end up coming from the State and not out of the local levy. However…it still comes from the taxpayer. If the State doesn’t have enough money it will raise your property taxes so you end up paying the bill no matter which pocket it comes out of. We’re not making any claims of fiscal irresponsibility on the board, district or unions parts. We’re simply sharing information.
There are some points to ponder:
- Getting the information felt like pulling teeth (we’re still waiting for some)
- We missed the approval announcements from the Union and the District
- We were told that we were the 1st to ask for the information and that lack of updates was an oversight that would be corrected. Strange that almost 2 months after approval there were no updates.
- How many people are out of jobs and simply don’t have the money to pay more taxes?
- It’s nice to get inflation increases in todays business environment and job market
- Benefits appear to add an additional ~39% to the salary cost
Does this impact your perception of the levy request that you will be asked to vote for in February?