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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ding dong! It's for the children.

Now that you've read the campaign flyers, including the ones you paid for, Mark Wiener and the crew are sending the earnest OSPIRG-type kids to your front porch. They'll make $10 an hour coaxing thousands out of your wallet and into the wallets of the construction contractors and teachers' union members. Maybe if they weren't asking for the moon, they wouldn't need an army of arm-twisters.

Comments (39)

As I recall OSPIRG was originally the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group but then the free cash flow brought with it career opportunities.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Ah yes, that's why the school levy and bond measures are on the ballot. To put money into construction contractors and teachers' union members pockets. Not to repair outdated and dangerous buildings and to ensure that we have a well-educated populace. That makes sense. That's why I have been out canvassing - for free and with my kids- along with so many other concerned parents.

Just tell the kiddies about the average teacher pay of $92,800.


Repeat: $92,800 AVERAGE TEACHER PAY in Portland's PPS


Exactly, Amie. I'm one of hundreds of volunteers who's been donating my time to the campaign because we value our schools. And I've seen broad support for both measures in the Grant/Alameda/Beaumont neighborhoods where I've been calling and canvassing.

"Repeat: $92,800 AVERAGE TEACHER PAY in Portland's PPS"

So just wondering is that total gross including retirement & health benefits? Or just net? Cost of salary plus fitting out the classroom? Maybe including cost of paving the outdoor basketball court? If so give us the breakdown please? My searches give the average salary for teachers in Portland as $48,000 a year.

It's for the Children after all.

never not another dime ever

Anon To: So just wondering is that total gross including retirement & health benefits? Or just net? Cost of salary plus fitting out the classroom? Maybe including cost of paving the outdoor basketball court? If so give us the breakdown please? My searches give the average salary for teachers in Portland as $48,000 a year.
JK: Quoting the PPS:

The average teacher compensation is $92,802 this year. $63,812 in salary, the rest in benefits (health, workers comp, social security and PERS are the big items).

Here is the actual email from a PPS spokesperson (note that the cost of both measures together is $711.34 not counting the about to expire levy):

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:54:16 -0700
From: "Sarah Ames"
To: "Jim Karlock"
Cc: "Jack Bogdanski"
Subject: Re: Property Tax Value File

Sorry, I was rushing to get the info out late last night before leaving the office, and didn't review the actual requests the three of you sent. So I missed your questions.

You are right in that the local option's rate is $1.99, but it would "load on" 74 cents compared to the current tax load.

The median TAV is $143,140.
The average TAV is $320,166.
(I added those calculations to the spreadsheet, see attached.)

$178,281 times $3.99 = $711.34

The average increase is:
$178,281 times $2.74 = $488.49

We have used median, as we think it speaks to the typical homeowner (half pay more, half pay less).
If you look at the average, 87,410 property owners are under the average, or 66.36% of the total (one third pays more, two thirds pay less).

The average teacher compensation is $92,802 this year. $63,812 in salary, the rest in benefits (health, workers comp, social security and PERS are the big items). It's worth noting that PPS teachers, unlike many other government employees, pay 7% of their health care premium and their employee share (6%) into PERS. That comes off the top of the salary.


Sarah Carlin Ames
Department of Community Involvement and Public Affairs
Direct: 503.916.3212
Department: 503.916.3304

E-mail messages to and from this account may be made public under Oregon law.

Dave Anderson: And I've seen broad support for both measures in the Grant/Alameda/Beaumont neighborhoods where I've been calling and canvassing.
JK: That’s not what I saw at two forums in other neighborhoods. Both had long time school supporters saying they just can’t afford the tax increase. (Have you looked at the dollar amount of YOUR increase!)

And they looked at the lousy graduation rate and decided that they need fundamental change at the top, not more money. (Don’t forget the huge settlement they gave Goldschmidt!)

And even the PPS supporting panelist was visibly shaken when he heard the $93,000 average teacher pay!


The folks I have spoken with about this, who have before voted for various school bond measures, are telling me they just cannot afford this one.
Note to school board; people will reach a breaking point. There does come a time when you cannot get blood from a stone. It will be interesting to see if this is it.

Jim K. -- Why do you keep saying "pay" when you're referring to total compensation? Average salary ($63,812) is interesting. Average total compensation ($92,802) is interesting. But I don't know anyone who refers to total compensation as "pay" -- unless they're trying to spin the numbers.

Second, what is your issue with teachers making just under $64k in pay, and just under $93k in pay plus benefits? These are well-trained professionals, many of whom have graduate levels of education and significant experience. $64k is about median income for a family of four in PDX last time I checked -- although most of us would agree that raising a family on that salary alone would be tough. How much less do you think our teachers -- who have one of the most important jobs in society -- should be making?

"what is your issue with teachers making"

Nothing, my issue is we can blow $65M on SW Moody and $1.5B on MAX to Milwaukie, yet we can't fid any money to fix schools.

My issue is at Earl's level on down how they can siphon off school money thru TIFs and earmarks and then stick us with paying for stuff we really need like schools twice.

Portland's median family income is not anywhere near $64,000 annually, but about $47,000, or just over the poverty line.

You are using the rosy figures from the PDC (as supplied by HUD, which does not make income surveys). The more sobering, poverty-level median income comes from the US Census Bureau, which does survey incomes.


what is your issue with teachers making just under $64k in pay, and just under $93k in pay plus benefits?

I actually don't have a problem with paying a teacher this amount or even more IF they produced a quality product. A 53% graduation rate, however, is not a quality product.

I make just north of $75K a year in pay. In return, I am expected to achieve my annual sales goal while staying inside of my allotted expense budget. I have made my sales goal for 9 of the last 10 years (and sales goals rarely go down, regardless of the economy.) I produce a product (revenue)that helps fund my own increasing pay level. If I don't produce, they find someone else who can. We don't layoff according to seniority; we layoff according to results.

I'm not anti-teacher. I am just against the constant request for monies when there is no discernible change in the results being produced. I am unaware of any teachers union willing to accept some sort of measurement of results to determine which personnel should be separated when the cuts come down.

Why do business and industry choose to retain their best people during lean times and education does not?

If Ford built vehicles that only started 53% of the time, or, if Intel built a chip that only processed correctly 53% of the time, they would be out of business.

PPS produces @ 53% success rate.


Why should they (teachers) be compensated as well-trained professionals when, demagoguery and obfuscation aside, the results of their production say otherwise.

This family of 4 does just fine on considerably less than 64k($93k in pay plus benefits) and find it, quite frankly, disgusting that these "professionals" expect me to foot their raises through increasing my property tax.

And as to building maintenance, these "professionals" (administration) remind me of the fat cat CEO Bankers, Fortune 500's and Wall St. types who think they're too big to fail - or be judged by their results. They (administrators) hide behind children - and graduate levels of education and get fat at the public trough.

A no vote to both bond and levy seems to be the consensus of the majority of neighbors I've talked to in my part of NoPo (Boise).
Everyone agrees - PPS must learn to live within their means - just like the rest of us, professionalism notwithstanding.

I am following this one real close, because if it passes I will have to sell my house and move somewhere else. I can no longer afford the taxes in Portland. It's a simple matter of family finances - the cost of everything is rising, whereas my income is stagnant. If I will be required to hand over another $500+ to Portland Schools, I will need to cut spending somewhere else - food, heat, clothing, some other basic necessity. Sorry Portland teachers, but I just don't have the money.

Ding dong! It's for the children.

Is it really? Don't think so.

I am tired of children being used as "financial shields."

Many families cannot afford this, including some
who have mentioned here that they will have to move.
Children will end up with less basic needs, food and healthcare.

Boy these discussions about PPS sure get old.
Everything about the PPS from administration to the teacher's union is geared towards keeping everything exactly the same as it's been for the last 30 years.

The people running the district are completely accepting of having the district repeat the past 20 years with 20 more.

The last thing these entrenched people and their agenda will ever provide is change and progress.

The multiple layers of pretense of doing so over the years ranks up there with the most disgusting sagas in Oregon History.

I remember when the Oregonian editorial board referred to the combination of the Ben Canada contract renewal, passing the $70 million local levy and the touted Strategic Plan as a "Recipe For Success".

Every single piece of advise from the Oregonian editorial page has been a Recipe for Perpetual Crisis.

The establishment manages to sustain their grip by warning the public that if anyone else were running things it would be much worse.
After all everyone knows conservatives want to destroy public education, right Randy?

Just like conservative critics of the PDC, Metro and TriMet really want to destroy the environment, the State and our livability.

And conservatives who were helping in the effort to recall Adams were only trying to destroy Portland.

And so it goes.

Can anyone else smell the the exit of superintendent Carol Smith.

I'll bet she has been searching the web and checking with Ben Canada's Superintendent job center.


It's all about matching districts with top (paid) superintendents, while preservation of control continues to take the place of actual results. .

Hello? PPS? school board? Elected officials?
Anybody listening to the above comments about WHY some people are opposed to your latest rip off scheme?
Hello?... ANY body?...Are you hearing this?....Hello? Hello?....

Hummmm...thought so....
Vote NO! maybe then someone will at least respond.

Miles, I think you, deep-down, understand that in the last decade "pay" has become to mean a person's total "compensation". The reason are facts show that less than 27% of all employees receive compensations beyond their hourly payment.

We've smarten-up to consider all benefits, compensation, share compensation, under-the-table, hidden things like employee housing and car use in the total package="compensation", and that is our real "pay".

On one side of the coin, the PPS Bond is not about teacher pay, but about facilities improvements. On that side many good arguments have been made why the vote should be "No".

The other side is that the Bond is seen by many as merely a means of continuing the increasing compensation to administration and teachers in disregard to other citizen's budget plights. Household budgets don't have individual piles where we say we'll use our paycheck to fund an absolute need in one department and think of another as independent. Citizen's aren't dumb anymore to that thinking.

I've talked to 12 neighbors around our block. Two of them cannot afford the $1200 and $1300 dollar tax increases and will seriously consider moving if passed. They have spent their entire life in Portland and have contributed much to our City. Sad. Sorry, it isn't a "hate" of any segment, it's now down to basic living needs for ourselves.

There's too much emphasis on graduation rates. Any school can lower their difficulty and graduate more students, in fact you can see that in some schools from the recent reports released of all Oregon schools. Benson is a great example of good grad rates and terrible test scores. Great, we graduated a bunch of students with no skills. What's the point?

I think it's not fair to compare a sales position to that of a teaching position. The success of a student comes from their family and the individual student's willingness to learn. One has to ask themselves why Asian Americans score well and test better than other students? It's simply because of the cultural priority placed on education.

I have never had a teacher who was unwilling to let me succeed at schooling. If I showed interest and effort they would do their best to make sure I performed the best of my ability and that I had access to excelling. Teachers can only motivate so well.

I would vote no on these measures, but I see little efficacy in blaming teachers. Let's be realistic here.

If we are playing the blame game, then my order of blame goes towards the parents mostly, then the administrators, then the students, then the teachers.

C'mon, blaming Susie the teacher because Billy the teenager decided to skip school and not graduate on time is the teacher's fault?

They can show up at my door as many times as they want; I already voted, no on both. Like Steve said, I am thoroughly annoyed at being asked to pay twice for stuff that should be paid for by money I already send downtown. If the powers-that-be siphon off money that should go to schools for urban renewal & other junk, that's not my fault. The kids would be way better off protesting in front of city hall, demanding their fair share of tax dollars already sent in, than going door-to-door trying to get more blood money from the proverbial stone.

ws; Wow! Were you ever lucky to have not one teacher who "was unwilling to let me succeed at my schooling".
Personally over the years I had several " teachers" who really and truly did not give a hoot about teaching anyone anything.
I see no reason why teachers should not be graded just like the students they teach (if that is even done anymore).
The success and efficacy of the school system starts at the top and the school board and the administrators need to tighten their collective belts and get busy. There are probably too many people in administrative positions as well as too much other stuff that has nothing to do with actually educating kids to function in modern society.
So called "grief councilors" come to my mind....50 years ago there were no grief councilors, parents took care of that. And you are right that some parents do need to be way more involved in their child's education.
All of us in the community at large need to work together to make our schools better. But the waste of money has to stop.

Consider this, we are carrying on about the pros and cons of this school bond yet it looks like watchdogs are needed regarding all our elections and more importantly, our elections need to be self-governed by the people.

State of Oregon placed on Black Box Voting Watch List Aug. 2009 due to hiring state elections director with history of obstructiveness to public observation. (See news article this section)

Despite over 20 years of suspect election results emanating from Oregon's largest county, no candidate has ever dared to question their vote tally in Multnomah County. 2010 Congressional Republican Nominee Delia Lopez has dared to demand a partial recount of her 3rd District to determine if the tally matches the ballots. She placed her demand on Thursday and they have scheduled her recount for Tuesday at 8:30a. To ensure that the precinct boxes to be counted had not been tampered with James volunteered to photograph the seals on these boxes on Friday. Only to find that none of her precinct boxes had been properly sealed with the date and signatures of the workers who sealed the boxes. We also know that they are not in compliance with state election law that mandates they destroy unused blank ballots after 8p on election night...

Portland Native:

I never said grading teachers should not occur or that teachers are not responsible for the outcome of performance. Quite the opposite as that's all welcome in my book.

A student who does not want to learn is just that.

It's easy for parents who have children who under perform to blame the teachers.

It's the same mindset of where people think it's the job of the government to take care of all their needs. Sorry, let's have some personal accountability here. You don't like your child's outcomes, how about make them responsible for their performance? Schools can do the same. You don't attend class or perform poorly, well, there's going consequences.

I agree with many of the other posters here. The current compensation of PPS educators is not an issue. What is an issue is how basic life and civilization services like water/sewer, public education, public health, police and fire services, etc. keep being held hostage byt the cesspool of current politians that seem to have taken Portland by the gonads.

That is the real issue.

lw:...I've talked to 12 neighbors around our block. Two of them cannot afford the $1200 and $1300 dollar tax increases and will seriously consider moving if passed. They have spent their entire life in Portland and have contributed much to our City...

How many people have contributed much to our infrastructure and community here only to be taxed out of their homes and city?

Mr. Grumpy,

What is wrong with this insider group who only want more for themselves and don't care about the rest of the people or our city?

ws, I agree with your points made in your previous post.
It is too bad that the school administrators do not listen to members of the community who pay the taxes that go to the schools.
And it is a crime that the elected pawns have used TIF dollars and have stolen the money from our schools, to fatten the bank accounts of the developers who paid to get these chumps elected.

...And it is a crime that the elected pawns have used TIF dollars and have stolen the money from our schools, to fatten the bank accounts of the developers who paid to get these chumps elected.

I imagine when the economy was more free flowing, people didn't pay as much attention. Now,the ones who benefited for years instead of holding back a bit, are charging forward to get all they can get as long as they can.

Our community can no longer afford "chumps" who know how to get elected, and then turn their backs on us. I do not understand how those whose accounts get fattened or the elected pawns who favor them can do this to the public without shame!

If all of you people who are out pushing this obscene tax increase would instead go to your local school, grab a ladder and knock out some of that woefully neglected maintenance, this whole thing would be moot.

Nobody is saying the schools aren't falling apart. They were falling 20, 30 years or more, every since the last recession here in Oregon in the 1980's. And still were all the way through the fat times of the past 15+ years and what was done about it while money flowed like sand? How can people not feel like their families are being held hostage?

This is just like the Sellwwod bridge with the fee proponents telling people how bad the Sellwood bridge needs replacing.

The central problem with both issues is that those asking for the money are the least capable of spending it prudently.

The PPS projects and cost etimates are ludicrous and the Sellwood Bridge design with all of the non bridge components piled on is also insane.

Same with the Lake Oswego Streetcar and CRC/Light Rail.

Is it any surprise to anyone that all of the same people are pushing all of these?

Mass firings and removal from office is the only hope for the Portland metropolitan area.

Before it is too late.

I don't know Ben, what do some of these officials do, take "ruin the city" pills?

All this unnecessary spending at a time when we should be laying low on accumulating more debt.

How much does it all add up to right now, the Milwaukie Light Rail, CRC Bridge, the bonds, the PWB continued projects not needed up to a billion/debt there? The list is long, and all of this should be put on hold until trustworthy people with the public's interest as a priority are in charge.

Well, our canvasser showed up, at 8:15 or so.

Clueless. The last thing I want to do is deal with a true believer when I am getting my daughter ready for bed.

They knew our name, and started the script, and were promptly interrupted by "we already voted...no. And good night."

The look on the poor guy's face was one of confusion, hurt and disbelief.

I am not happy about making things tougher for the schools, but I didn't vote knowingly for any of the politicians who put the schools in this position in the first place.

I wonder if any of these people would be out in force to find and elect a real government for the people, not the developer/planner class.

Somehow, I don't think so. They never see corruption in their government. I think they don't want to.

Propaganda plays a role in all of this, many types of it,
is the subject still being taught in schools?

"Be a part of a grassroots movement,"

and get paid $10/hour! Grassroots are getting paid now I guess.

As for pay vs compensation, thats just semantics. That compensation has tax bennies. I'd take the extra 30k in pay thank you very much and pay my own insurance/retirement etc. just to not have to worry about being tied to a job for healthcare.

The local media is a great part of the problem in understanding the PPS issues.

This morning on NBC Channel 8, Brenda Braxton yells out "Portland Public Schools are in a CRISIS", and goes on to say that the Bond and Levy are the answer and gives the time and place where PPS tonight will give out information on how to help.

Gosh, Brenda how many years have you heard this same call of "CRISIS"? Don't you think that your lead statement is pure editorializing? Don't you know that there's a large contingent that thinks differently that bonds and levies aren't the answers to your "CRISIS"?

News organizations are not a public service, but for-profit entities, and hence in the business of getting your attention only for the sake of getting your attention. We trust they won't tell blatant untruths, but there is a lot of wiggle room between true and false.

I will re-affirm your assertion, Grumpy.

The news is only to distract you while the government and corporations turn you into a slave and rob you blind.

Who owns your time?

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