Position on County Funding of Education
There are approximately 14,531 students and 1082 teachers in Wicomico County. That means there are approximately 13.43 students per teacher. If that is the case - then there should be fewer teachers - (reduced through retirement) - until the ratio is between 20/1 or 25/1. So let's run the numbers and see how this stacks up for Wicomico's taxpayers.
With a 20/1 ratio - we would need 727 teachers total. If they were all paid a top salary of $55,100 the teacher total would be 40.06 million dollars. Look at it another way - if the ratio is permitted to rise to 20/1, there would be 355 fewer teachers to pay. Presuming the most senior teachers (highest paid) would be the ones to retire, and, presuming they all make about 55.1k/year, then the County would save 19.56 million dollars - ($55,100 x 355 = 19.56m)
If the ratio went to 25/1 there would be 501 less teachers in Wicomico County. Then the savings would be even higher at $27.6 million dollars. At this level of savings - the County could easily afford to pay the remaining teachers substantially higher salaries. Moreover, at this level our County could even escrow and build a capital improvement budget whereby our County would not have to reach out and ask the State for anything. Upon reviewing the Maryland Board of Public Works website - it shows that there are currently three counties that are not requesting any State assistance for capital improvements - (Kent, Talbot, & Worcester).
Note: The current salary of a school teacher is very close to what a Federal employed Engineer would be making if you adjust for the fact that the Engineer is obligated to work 1940 hours verses a school teacher 1488 hours. Someone with a non-technical degree might not make as much as an Engineer. 1940/1488 is 1.303. That's the amount to multiply when you compare your salary with people that work all year and get two weeks and holidays off.
The big problem (or perk) with teaching is that they don't work all year. On the bright side - it gives them the opportunity to experience other jobs during the summer - or - to take long vacations if they can afford them.
Bottom Line - Wicomico's Superintendent John Fredericksen - has all of the tools at his disposal to bring Wicomico's educational budget into alignment with our public's financial expectations. The problem is - he may have already allied himself to special interest - after all - our County does not yet have an elected school board and thus it is not a true reflection or representation of our taxpayers constituency. In fact - it is laced heavily with educators who have shown that they have no qualms about imposing their will upon the people - (i.e. BMS).
We hope that our elected County Council members will take all of the above into consideration before they allocate additional taxpayers resources to the educational entity. As we said - John Fredericksen has all of the tools necessary - question is - how will he use them.
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