First Paystub of 2015-2016

I just wanted to write a quick note to give some personal perspective on the teacher salary debates. Especially since the strikes this past month, I was very curious to see how my most recent paystub compares to all of my other teaching paystubs since I became a teacher. NOTE: none of these numbers are adjusted to inflation or to a local consumer price index.

But first a quick review to give some context. In the 2011-2012 school year, I was a student teacher at Highline Big Picture High School in Burien, WA, and worked in the Highline School District. In the 2012-2013 school year, I taught math and science at Wapato High School in Wapato, WA, in the Wapato School District. In the 2013-2014 school year I started teaching at Pasco High School in Pasco, WA (Pasco School District). I am now starting my third year at Pasco High School.

Initially I looked at Gross Salary, and found that for 9/30, my Gross is the second best overall, i.e. in the past 5 years. You would think that is great, I am progressing on a pay schedule, accruing experience and seniority. However, the systems scientist in me marvels at the large transient in my Gross Pay that happened at the start of 2013-2014 in Pasco. Do other professions “enjoy” a swing in gross salary of almost $2000 from month to month. You would almost think that I am paid on commission!

However, when you look at the Net Salary trends, you start to notice a more serious problem. As of 9/30/2015 I have the lowest take home pay I have ever had in 5 years of teaching. Is that possible? That is possible if you look at the percentage that taxes and deductions take out of salaries over time, especially if the pay rates do not increase. I think it is time to write my elected officials.*

And if you thought Gross Salary fluctuations were bad, you should try Net Salary fluctuations. I’m not complaining, I chose this job, I’m just adding some data to the rhetoric.

*Oh, right, as of today, the Washington State Supreme Court fine on the Legislature is $4.5 million.

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