Letter: Kansas teachers need more help

In this file photo, teacher Diego Marquez, right, is pictured in a Topeka USD 501 classroom. (File photo/The Capital-Journal)

As I understand it, teachers in the metro areas of Kansas normally have between 20 to 30 students in their elementary school classrooms. The average teacher’s salary is in the $40,000 to $50,000 range.

I have also heard that, including state, federal and local taxes, our Kansas students are each supported at about $13,000 per year. If one does the simple math and takes 20 students times $13,000 per year, that means this teacher’s class costs the state $260,000. For 30 students, it would be $390,000. Granted, the school system has to pay a teacher’s salary plus a part of Social Security, health insurance and KPERS, so let’s say the average teacher’s pay is about $50,000. If we divide $260,000 by $50,000, we see that the average teacher of 20 students gets only one-fifth – or for teachers of 30 students, one-eighth – of the money that those students are supposed to be given. Something does not sound right for a teacher who spends 40 to 50 hours per week either teaching, supervising, preparing class plans or grading papers to get only one-fifth or one-eighth of the tax money we provide for the teaching of our children.

I would think a teacher should get close to half of the money we provide for our students. Yes, I know there are building costs, maintenance, principals and superintendents to pay too, but somehow $210,000 or $340,000 for each classroom for those items seems excessive to me. I think the school system needs to explain this to us, especially since they are demanding more tax money from us this year.

GARY GRIMES, Tonganoxie

ANN MAH 8 months ago
I agree, Gary, that teachers should be paid better in Kansas.  We are near the bottom in the nation in teachers' salaries. However, there are many more factors that contribute to that per classroom cost. Here is what the Kansas Association of School Boards calculated goes into the total cost of educating a classroom of children:

Teachers, Aides, Classroom Materials:  $125,000 per classroom

Construction, Repair and Remodeling of School Buildings, including classrooms, libraries, gyms, auditoriums, lunchrooms, technology and other equipment:  $50,000 per classroom

Maintenance and Operations, including utilities, insurance and security: $20,000 per classroom

Transportation:  $8,000 per classroom

Lunch and Breakfast costs:  $10,000 per classroom

Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, Nurses, Attendance and Resource Officers and Security Staff:
$10,000 per classroom

Librarians, Technology Support and Instructional Programs: $8,000 per classroom

Building Administration and Support Staff:  $12,000 per classroom

District Administrative Support, Business Operations, Human Resources, Legal Services:  $7,000 per classroom
 

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