The Truth About Octorara’s Labor Costs

There was a strong assertion made during the last Finance Committee meeting, labor costs have been controlled over the last 10 years, and as a result has become a smaller percentage of the budget. Below is a graphical representation of the average teacher salary, within the Octorara Area School District, since the 1999-00 school year. You will notice, after a dip in 07-08, the most rapid rate of increase has been over the last few years.

graph(1)

I also wanted to make a comparison to a neighboring school district. I chose Oxford because it has the starkest contrast.

Octorara Oxford
1999-00 $50,579 $45,651
2000-01 $49,959 $44,463
2001-02 $50,822 $44,784
2002-03 $51,658 $45,313
2003-04 $53,252 $46,305
2004-05 $54,331 $50,301
2005-06 $54,120 $49,406
2006-07 $57,955 $52,937
2007-08 $56,781 $51,812
2008-09 $60,088 $51,888
2009-10 $62,500 $53,459
2010-11 $65,295 $53,610
2011-12 $66,523 $54,843

This information is publicly available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

Not only has Octorara paid a premium for teachers, compared to Oxford, that premium has grown. Since 1999-00, Oxford’s average salary has rose by only, roughly $9,000. Octorara’s average salary has risen by $16,000 per year.

Even more interestingly, the gap between Octorara and Oxford’s average wages remained fairly steady until until 2007-08. What was an average difference of roughly $5,000 for years, jumped to an almost $11,000 difference in just 4 years. This difference represents around $2.1 Million (or about 3.2 mills).

Does this, at all, look like labor costs were controlled?

It is another example of how, during the worst economic crisis in recent history, the school district chose to increase spending. Choices related to labor and debt are why taxes keep going up. These poor decisions are why they now want to “control costs” by cutting programs.

One thought on “The Truth About Octorara’s Labor Costs

  1. Very informative! It is amazing how a little research can expose the real true facts, and it is disturbing how Lisa Bowman, and Brian Norris did not try to slow down these rates. I bet an election recall on these two members will open up some eyes, and get the attention needed to control costs for the next 10 years!

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