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Last year I prepared an analysis of the Port School Budget Summary showing the unit costs (salary plus benefits) for major categories of our 800 school district employees. Benefits largely represent medical and retirement costs. I have just completed an analysis of the most recently available proposed Budget Summary for 2004-05. It shows the average cost per school employee rising over 9 percent from $85,700 this year to $93,700 next year.

The average cost of 68 maintenance/custodial employees this year is $82,000 and will rise, under the proposed budget, to 72 employees next year at a cost of $89,000 each. This is comprised of average compensation (including overtime) of $63,000 plus $26,000 in benefits. For our teachers, the average cost will increase from $104,700 this year to $114,600 next year. This $114,600 is comprised of $89,600 in average compensation and $25,000 in benefits. Our 24 guidance counselors and school psychologists are the highest paid teacher groups with an average salary above $100,000 and a loaded cost of $126,000 each. We have 172 "teacher aides" (or teacher/educational assistants) whose salaries average only $20,000, but who have the same medical benefits as teachers and consequently have benefit costs nearly equal to their salaries, bring their loaded cost to $39,000.

I submitted this analysis to various members of the school administration and school board several weeks ago welcoming any corrections. I have received none to date, If any reader would like this one-page employees cost analysis reflecting the bulk of our total proposed school budget, just send a self-addressed stamped envelope to me at PO Box 203 here in Port, or e-mail me at with the words "Budget Analysis."

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