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Why the Government needs to go back to school.

Posted by on June 23, 2014

The government, er sorry BCPSEA recently published the following ad in the 24 Hours newspaper:

The front page of the 24 hours.

The front page of the 24 hours.

Second page of 24 hours ad. (photo credit http://allaboutwork.org/)

Second page of 24 hours ad. (photo credit http://allaboutwork.org/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifically there are two numbers I took issue with (Other analysis of the numbers is done here: http://allaboutwork.org/2014/06/21/a-look-at-the-british-columbia-governments-ad-in-the-teachers-bargaining-dispute/)

First is the percentage. According to BCPSEA’s own documents published on June 16th the TOTAL teacher compensation (Salary, benefits, cost from increased prep-time – more teachers required) was 12.6%. (Proposals-Costing-June 16 2014.pdf)

However, according to the ad published June 20th they are claiming salary and benefits (presumably NOT including other costs included in the compensation calculation from the above PDF) is a total of 14.5%. This number is broken down as Salary: 8%, Benefits: 6.5%.

However, that’s NOT a 14.5% total increase because the two increases apply to two different pools of money; let me demonstrate.

Compensation Increase (Compensation x Percentage) Percentage Increase New Compensation Total (Increase+existing compensation)
Salary $60,000.00 $4,800.00

8.00%

$64,800
Benefits $10,000.00 $650.00

6.50%

$10,650
Total Compensation (salary+benefits) $70,000.00 $5,450.00

7.79%

$75,450
Government Math $70,000.00 $10,150.00

14.50%

$80,150

Above we see what I consider to be an average salary. The benefits is a guess, and I think likely a high guess.

We see a teacher who earns $60,000/year and receives another $10,000/year in benefits. That gives this teacher an increase (over 5 years) of $5,450, or a total percentage increase of 7.79%. A 14.5% increase in TOTAL compensation, on the other hand, would be an increase of $10,150.

Let’s get silly and make the compensation package REALLY big, in fact, let’s make it equal to the salary:

Compensation Increase (Compensation x Percentage) Percentage Increase New Compensation Total (Increase+existing compensation)
Salary $60,000.00 $4,800.00

8.00%

$64,800
Benefits $60,000.00 $3,900.00

6.50%

$63,900
Total Compensation (salary+benefits) $120,000.00 $8,700.00

7.25%

$128,700
Government Math $120,000.00 $17,400.00

14.50%

$137,400

Oh boy, look what happened there; the total percentage increase went DOWN!

Want a second opinion on the math? Check out this GREAT video:

Thank you Ms. Morgan, I think that sums it up quite well.

The second page of that ad has another interesting number (well, it has a few but check out the post above to see how the per person yearly increase calculation is fallacious), that’s the line that states “For many teachers the strike is costing about $2000 a week in lost wages.”

Full disclosure; my wife is a teacher. As such I found it surprising to think she’s taking home $2000/week so I did some math.

$2,000 * 40 weeks (my wife is paid on a 10 month contract, not 12, and therefore is not paid during summer; most teachers are on this type of contract) = $80,000

Now is that net or gross? The ad is unclear but let’s look at the logic.

If that weekly number is gross, that is before taxes, then the real TAKE HOME that the teachers are losing is closer to $1487.71

If that weekly number is net, that is after taxes, then the government is suggesting MANY teachers earn $103,535.53/year. This number is higher than ANY teacher’s salary in BC.

One last point; the AVERAGE teacher doesn’t even earn $80,000/year GROSS, that number is very near the top of the salary grid for any district in the province. I would venture to say that it’s disingenuous to suggest MANY teachers earn that much; we’re talking the top 1% here!

 

BCPSEA, Minister Fassbender, Premier Clark, if you’re going to take the teachers to task AT LEAST GET YOUR MATH CORRECT.

One Response to Why the Government needs to go back to school.

  1. Fiona McQuarrie

    Fascinating! Thanks for posting this analysis.