Let’s Get Curious… Where Is All The Money Going?

I’m curious.

A gentleman has been posting a link in several places on social media showing each Spokane School District Employee’s salary, bonuses received, and medical insurance contributions. I know teachers receive around $768 in contributions a month for medical insurance. This amounts to $768 X 12 = $9216 annually.

I cover my son. The premiums come to around $1200 a month. Therefore, I pay about $400ish out of pocket each month, deducted directly from my income. If I added my husband the $1200 would nearly double.

I scrolled through the link the gentleman shared. I noticed a pattern.

  • Mark Anderson, Deputy Superintendent of Spokane Public Schools has an annual salary of $145,000. He received $33,000 in bonuses. And he received $20,000 in contributions towards his medical insurance.
  • Most administrators I found make over 6 digits in income per year, have higher bonuses, and higher contributions to their medical costs.
  • The exception… Shelley Redinger, Spokane School District’s Superintendent.  She makes an annual salary of $239,999, received no bonuses, and also received over $20,000 in insurance benefits.  This is $20,000 a month, plus her benefits.
  • In 2009-2010, the then superintendent made $195,048.  In 2010-2011, the salary increased to $222,576, a 14.1% increase. In 2011-2012, the salary increased $5,962, a 2.5% increase equaling a $228,538 annual salary.   The current superintendent makes another $11,461 above this, another 5% increase.  From 2009 to 2015 there has been a 23% increase to the annual salary of the person holding the Superintendent’s position.
  • From 2009 to 2015 there has been no cost of living increase (0%) for teachers even though the voters of Washington State approved it.

My salary has remained stagnant for 6 years. My take home pay, what I net, has decreased every year for six years running due to the rise in medical premiums. I do not complain. I did not go into education to become rich. I have raised my son as a single parent since he was a baby until last summer when I remarried. It wasn’t easy, but I made it. I budgeted. I set priorities, and I did borrow money at times to pay my basic bills. Many are in the same boat.

I think it woud be advantageous for school district employees, parents, and the community at large to ask where the district IS deciding to spend their money. I spent a day this past spring plowing through the minutes of every single school board meeting. I found some interesting expenditures.

There is money to pay Amplify, a testing corporation, (over and above the initial cost to purchase the program), $296,000 to write “custom” assessments for Spokane School District. Yet there is not enough money to purchase the writing curriculum that goes along with Journeys, the ELA (English Language Arts) adopted program.

Purchase of Amplify

Amplify is owned by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News.  Mr. Murdoch has been quoted as saying the United States Educational System is worth over $500,000,000,000 (500 BILLION) in untapped profits.  I spent a lot of time researching its history.  You can find the chronological articles with summaries here: Amplify… A Modern Day Medusa.

test anxietyNow, why would Mr. Murdoch be interested in the Testing Industry? Hmmmmm…..

Note: The Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium paid Amplify $12,000,000 to write practice tests. Have teachers had the chance to look at the scoring guides? Do teachers realize they will now be scoring performance tasks and entering in the data to track children’s progress? Do teachers and parents understand how the data is being used and where it is going? Start asking these questions and start digging.

There is money to pay a company (Micro12) that sells broadband width and SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment) resources a total of $3,905,777.50 so we can administer all the testing on the computers.

Micro12 Purchase

But there isn’t money for curricular materials for TEACHING?

Google MicroK12.  Do your own research.  Learn who they are, what they are about, and how much money they are getting of the people’s tax payer dollars.

SBAC TestDoes the Spokane community understand millions of dollars of their tax payer money are being spent and going to the testing industry? MILLIONS. We spent April through June testing kids. My staff has yet to examine their “data” from the SBA test. How was this test useful in informing instruction and improving student learning?

Was it worth all the instructional time given up? Was it worth having libraries and computer labs shut down for 3 months so kids could be funneled into the testing troughs?

There is money to pay for copying the EngageNY Math “free” materials with totals ranging over $3,000,000 from Spokane School District’s budget. An “interim” math program. My son, having it last year in 2nd grade, and now possibly another three years… is not “interim” for him. It is four years of his mathematical foundational years of learning. Digging and learning more about this math program, people will find it originated in Washington D.C. and was written by a company called Common Core, Inc. New York State paid them $24,000,000 to write the curriculum for their state. I also uncovered ties of Bill Gates contributing money to the writing of this curriculum.

Bill Gates contributed $500,000 to Pride Prep, one of the charter schools opening in Spokane.

Bill Gates has contributed over $2,000,000,000 (TWO BILLION) to Common Core.  Now school districts are choosing to buy technology, new curricular materials, practice tests like Amplify, etc… all at tax payer expense, in order to align to the new and “rigorous” Common Core Standards.

$2204 per student who attends Pride Prep Charter, (opening its doors for the first time September 2015), goes to Pride Prep from the levy money the tax payers approved this past year.

On the OSPI website, it shows Spokane School District hired two administrators to oversee the two new charter schools. One paid for from the charter schools, one paid for from public tax dollars to oversee the charters. You can find all this information on the OSPI website. Therefore, another administrator was hired to oversee two charter schools at a salary higher than most teachers.

Note: The charter schools get public tax payer money, but get to be privately run. They don’t have to use Journeys, EngageNY Math, Springboard, or any of it. They get to experiment with tax payer dollars. There is so much more research around this. In Florida State alone, 200 charters started and then closed their doors, at tax payer expense.

Also noteworthy, the district hired Elementary Supervisors for the 2015/2016 school year. All being paid over six digits. Remember the Area Directors? They were all let go to “save” the district money a few years back? They are now hired back under a new name. I asked a district level employee if they bascially have the same job description… the answer was one word, “yes”.  Therefore… more money to administration.

Please, please, please take the time to learn HOW the district is choosing to spend its money. Please know they have $37,000,000 (37 million) sitting. There is money to compensate all eight bargaining units.

Question MarkI’m curious.

I’m asking the questions.

Will you?

What are our teachers, custodians, instructional assistants, nurses, transportation employees, food service workers, etc… worth to this community?

I’m curious, how much money will we continue to pour into testing our children in the name of “accountability”?

Who is profiting from Common Core and all the testing?

There is money.

I’ve followed states like New York and Florida… we are a bit behind them in our learning curve… those states have had large uprisings and have learned just where the money is going… and it is NOT into the educator’s pockets… the educators communities entrust with their children.

Be Aware. Be Leery. Be Wise.

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Get Curious… Where Is All The Money Going?

  1. Thanks Raz for your research and for following the funding. Here’s the latest on Amplify:

    “Now, despite a $1 billion investment and a steady stream of brash promises to radically disrupt the way public schools do business, the company’s education division, known as Amplify, is deeply in the red and on the auction block.”… http://sco.lt/81EX3J

    I was not aware of the connections to SmarterBalanced until reading your post and am now not surprised. We need to keep following, connecting, and asking the tough questions that is seems nobody is willing to answer: http://eduresearcher.com/2015/07/06/critical-questions-computerized-testing-sbac/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A retired superintendent once told me that if you get rid of the administration, basically anyone that does not interact directly with the students, that there would be plenty of $$ for education. So this article has merit, but if you are going to point this out at least get your maths right…check the math problem in the following paragraph. “The exception… Shelley Redinger, Spokane School District’s Superintendent. She makes an annual salary of $239,999, received no bonuses, and also received over $20,000 in insurance benefits. This is $24,000 a month, plus her benefits” (no no no $239K divided by 12 months is more like $10K a month plus benefits) Still that represents over a quarter of a million dollars that could help the students instead of fatten an administrator’s wallet. Keep up the fight!

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    1. Hi Corey, thank you for the edit. I appreciate it. $240,000 divided by 12 months is $20,000. For the record, I am not pointing out this salary to state she is not deserving of it. I just find it fascinating how heavy a district office can become with administrators. My previous school district shaved administration to free up funds so appropriate resources were funneled directly to the schools. -Raz

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