Education

Are public school teachers paid too much? What about administrators? Or bus drivers?

A new analysis from Jefferson County Public Schools says the district is paying its employees higher salaries than comparable school systems. It comes almost two years after former state Auditor Adam Edelen found JCPS administrators — many of whom earn six-figure salaries — were paid higher than those in peer districts.

Edelen’s report found big disparities in pay between administrators and instructors, many of whom were forced to pay out-of-pocket for classroom materials.

The former auditor recommended the salary analysis, a draft of which was unveiled Tuesday evening. It found JCPS is paying between $105 million and $119 million more in salaries annually than comparable school districts. That includes teacher salaries, which the analysis says are $8,000 more than peer districts on average.

To save on costs, then, JCPS is expected to recommend to the Board of Education next month a pay freeze for all employees earning more than $14 an hour. The meeting is scheduled for May 10.

That move has rankled teachers, JCPS workers and the unions who represent them.

I spoke with Toni Konz, who covers education for WDRB, about the report – and the fallout around it.

Listen to the conversation in the player above.

On the swift fallout from the potential pay freeze:

“On both sides, you’ve got this rift that’s been created because everybody wants to get a raise, and everybody feels like they do a good job and should be compensated for that. The problem is, now you have this invisible line between above $14 and below $14 [an hour], and these people work together.

“I don’t think any teacher is going to tell you that a secretary shouldn’t make $14 an hour or whatever the comparison salary is. But at the same time, they feel — from what they’ve told me — that they shouldn’t suffer, and that they should also be able to get a raise if they do good work.

“They want to be held accountable, but they also want to be compensated correctly as well.”