Report by Paula Antolini
April 15, 2017 10:59AM EDT
OPINION / LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Bethel Teachers’ and Administrators’ Salaries for 2017-2018, Letter to the Editor from Matt Paulsen
The following link (below) is a PDF providing readers with the last names/salaries of the top 59 Bethel teachers for 2017/2018 (all earning $90,000 per year), as well as a summary of the remaining top 50% highest paid teachers (all earning above $70,000 per year) and a list of all school administrator salaries for 2017/2018.
View teacher salaries here:
Things to consider as you digest this:
• The information contained in this document was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and is available to anyone on request. The salaries shown are NOT confidential, and is simply a breakdown of what is already laid out in the totals that appear in the Board of Ed’s budget. It costs $0.50 per page and you must pay in advance to receive it.
• This is a personal issue for me. My family and many of my life-long friends have lived in Bethel for 45+ years and I will not sit back and idly watch them be forced out of their town because they can no longer keep up with their property tax bills due to the skyrocketing costs of the public sector salaries and benefits.
• I chose to publish the names of those earning the top 59 salaries (all over $90,000) because, after reviewing the names and salaries with those intimately familiar with the Bethel schools, several on this list were identified as “bad apples.” While the majority of this list may very likely be outstanding educators and, in the minds of many, worthy of the salaries they earn, the “bad apples” bring them down. It is critical that parents know that Teacher A (a bad apple), earning $95,000, and who is doing a pretty crappy job as a teacher from all accounts, is earning the same as Teacher B, who is consistently praised by parents and administrators as an outstanding educator, simply because they have the same level of education/# years of teaching. This is unfair and Bethel taxpayers have a right to know this.
• I chose not to include the salaries of the lowest ½ paid teachers. That said, the lowest paid teacher (FTE) will earn $52,447 in the 2017/18 school year.
• I encourage an open dialogue and debate on this PDF and hope it is shared and debated. I provided raw data with no commentary, so each person reading it can make up their own mind.
• The issue of teacher and administrator salaries is obviously a sensitive topic and this is the first time in 17 years salaries of Bethel teachers have been publicly disseminated. Seventeen years ago when I published the same list, there was no social media. I paid to have it published as an insert into the News Times. Well, times have changed. There will be shock. There will be anger. There will be disbelief.
• I will be attacked as the messenger. Criticism is fair. I expect to be criticized based on my decision to publicize information already available to the public. I will be called all sorts of names and insulted, and that’s fine. I’ve been fighting budgets since 1993. However, I will not tolerate defamation of character and libelous statements. Screenshots of such posts and comments will be captured. I currently have one instance of this against me that arose earlier this year which is currently in the process of being litigated.
• I look forward to a lively debate and welcome all perspectives. If you want a copy of the entire nine page list of salaries as provided by the Superintendent, please message me privately.
Message Paulsen here.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Bethel Advocate.