The School Committees and superintendent are in overdrive

Aug 22, 2019

To the Editor:

Escalating ORR school costs 4.72 % FY’ 20 and 3.29% FY’ 19 significantly above the State’s Prop 2.5 limit materially impacts tax increases. ORR is the largest line item in the Town’s Budget followed by Sippican with 3.24% FY’20 increase.

Marion taxpayers are close to spending $.60 of each tax dollar on educating 15 % of the Town’s aging population. The remaining $.40 of each tax dollar is available for funding all other municipal budgets providing necessary municipal services such as health, welfare and public safety.

Department of Education “DOE” ranks ORR as an underperforming school “Only Partially Meeting Targets” scoring 41% of targets meet. This compares to New Bedford at 40% and Boston 58% of target.  

DOE data show the state average salary is $76,502 compared to the national average of $59,661.  Sippican is $86,151 ranked 50th highest in the state ORR’s is $83,437 ranked 74th.  ORR and Sippican teacher compensation are in the top 25 % of the third most expensive state in the country for education just behind New York and California. 

To accurately annualize teacher compensation with the federal Fair Labor Standards, Act “full time” 52-week base, Sippican average compensation is equivalent to $172,302 annually; ORR’s equivalent is $166,874. The highest paid Sippican teacher makes $95,344 and 14 staff make $90,000 or more for the statutory required 26-week school year. This is $1.3 million or 20% of Sippican’s budget

 Marion’s demographics, stagnant economic base and flat school enrollment trends shown in the DOE data do not justify the current upward trends of school spending. It’s time for the School Committees and Superintendent to consider the taxpayers.

Ted North, Marion