News & Press: IASBO News

DOE AND ASSOCIATIONS RESPONSE TO INDIANA FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE REPORT ON TEACHER COMPENSATION

Tuesday, September 24, 2019  

DOE AND ASSOCIATIONS RESPONSE TO INDIANA FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE REPORT ON TEACHER COMPENSATION


The IFPI data spotlight report, “Teacher Compensation versus Total K-12 Staffing Costs: Can School Districts ‘Work Smarter’ to Prioritize Teacher Pay?”, released August 20, 2019, draws a flawed and incongruent conclusion regarding the K-12 labor costs percentage dedicated to the compensation of classroom teachers. In response, the Indiana Department of Education in collaboration with Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, Indiana Association of School Business Officials, and Indiana School Boards Association prepared a detailed response relative to the report methodology.

The report may be found on the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute website at www.indianafiscal.org.  The following is the response from Dr. McCormick, IAPSS, IASBO and ISBA:

From:    
Dr. Jennifer McCormick, State Superintendent of Public Instruction 
Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents  
Indiana Association of School Business Officials  
Indiana School Boards Association   

Date: September 23, 2019 
 
Subject: Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute (IFPI) – Data Spotlight: Teacher Compensation versus Total K-12 Staffing Costs: Can School Districts “Work Smarter” to Prioritize Teacher Pay? 
 
Overview and Response: 
The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute data spotlight report, “Teacher Compensation versus Total K-12 Staffing Costs: Can School Districts ‘Work Smarter’ to Prioritize Teacher Pay?”, released August 20, 2019, draws a flawed and incongruent conclusion regarding the K-12 labor costs percentage dedicated to the compensation of classroom teachers.  The data sources identified in the report methodology compare conflicting estimated versus actual expenditures. The methodology recognizes that data was compiled from the publicly accessible Indiana Gateway for Government Units system using school corporation personal services budgetary information, the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board (IEERB) Collective Bargaining Report, and the Employee Compensation by Unit (100R) Report. 
 
The Indiana Department of Education in collaboration with Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, Indiana Association of School Business Officials, and Indiana School Boards Association believe more factual and credible indicators for expenditures are readily and publicly available for review using actual financial data reported on each school corporation’s Biannual Financial Report Form 9.  Form 9 information is accessible through IDOE’s website. Additionally, while the Student Instructional Expenditures – Dollars to Classroom Report, available on the Indiana Office of Management and Budget website, does not include categorical salary data, it does provide actual expenditure data for review that draws a more accurate picture of instruction costs.    

Review of IFPI Data Methodology:
An accurate conclusion regarding the percentages of Indiana school district budgets dedicated to teacher salary expenses cannot be deduced from the data collected by IFPI. The following points outlined by each of the three data sources identify the invalidity of the sources’ use to arrive at the report’s conclusion. 
1.  Gateway Budgetary Data      
a. Budgetary information is by nature an estimate of expenses and reported on a calendar year basis. 
b. Advertised and adopted budgetary totals may not be equal to, or may vary significantly from certified budget totals. 
c. Only advertised and adopted budgets are available by categorical line items.  Certified budgets are solely by fund total. 
d. School corporation budgets are developed on the anticipation of student membership and revenue which may fluctuate prior to budget implementation. 
 
2.  IEERB Collective Bargaining Report 
a. Minimum, average, and maximum salaries only are reported.  There is no data on individual salary amounts nor the number of staff receiving a specified salary. 
b. Information is reported on a contract or fiscal year basis. 
c. Data is reported for a bargaining unit which may include staff members who are not classroom teachers. 
d. Benefit calculations included are for the entire bargaining unit and do not provide a separation of benefit costs for classroom positions versus other staffing. 
 
3. Employee Compensation by Unit (100R) Report 
a. Compensation is reported based on individual W2 calendar year wages only.  No benefits are reflected in this compensation report. 
b. Data is self-reported by school districts and does not contain a reporting standard for identifying staff descriptors. 
c. IFPI eliminated positions not reported as a minimum starting salary defined by collective bargaining agreements. The exclusion removes any teaching staff from the calculation who may have received less than the minimum in a calendar year due to medical leave or replacement of staff. 
  
Position: 
The estimated and varied data used in the IFPI report cannot and does not portray a reliable and responsible analysis of teacher compensation expenses for Indiana public schools. The IFPI data compares estimated amounts to actual expenditures with varied time frames resulting in a baseless conclusion. 
 
In addition, discussion and analysis of teacher salaries or compensation cannot take place without reviewing school financial needs as a whole, inclusive of all budgetary funds and necessary revenue receipted supporting the fund purposes. Actual monies received often fall short of anticipated and budgeted revenue sources.