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By the Numbers: Princeton Public Schools Teacher Salaries

princeton public schoolsThis is the first post for a new Planet Princeton feature called “By the Numbers” that takes a look at data about the town of Princeton and the school district.

The data about teacher salaries is also the first post in a series about salaries in the Princeton Public Schools. We will be posting information about staff and administrator salaries as well. We will also be looking at how Princeton compares to other districts in Mercer County and other high-performing districts in the state when it comes to salaries and per pupil spending.

If you have an issue you would like us to research for “By the Numbers” please email editor@planetprinceton.com.

Teachers in the Princeton Public Schools have been working without a contract since June 30 of 2014. Negotiations stalled in April and it looked like a state fact-finder was going to have to step in, but the board and the teachers’ union agreed to meet one last time this week to try to come to an agreement. The two major issues are health care contributions and salary increases. The discussion about health care contributions and salaries has led many residents to ask, “What do teachers in Princeton get paid?”

Planet Princeton filed an Open Public Records Act request with the school district to get that information. Public employee salaries are public information in New Jersey. We asked for salaries plus pay for other activities like coaching or leading clubs. For our searchable chart detailing 2014-15 pay according to the district, click this link.

The total amount to be spent this school year for teacher salaries for members of the Princeton Regional Education Association is $31.13 million, according to data provided by the school district for 401 employees (full-time and part-time).

– The average salary, including stipends, is $77,634 for 2014-15. This figure averaged in the salaries of more than a dozen part-time employees.

– 137 teachers in the district receive stipends for leading extracurricular activities such as coaching or serving as club advisors.

– More than 60 teachers will make between $50,000 and $60,000 this academic year.

– 80 teachers will earn between $60,000 and $70,000.

– More than 60 teachers will earn between $70,000 and $80,000.

– More than 50 teachers will earn between $80,000 and $90,000.

– Almost 70 teachers will earn between $90,000 and $100,000.

– More than 60 teachers will earn total salaries of more than $100,000 this academic year. Salaries are based on education and years of experience. Raises are given out based on a step system.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • @tkq

    @resident: This chart offers some data points.

  • resident

    Taxes in Princeton are very high because of numerous small increases, each of which can be justified. At what point, do the small increases stop? They have to if Princeton is going to be affordable for anyone other than those in professions like finance.

  • @tkq

    @disqus_vnMHbnDrnj:disqus: I don’t think I said that you were exhibiting “blind devotion” to PREA; I regret if you interpreted it that way. My mention of “blind devotion” was in response to what “parenttoo” had written and referred to certain PREA supporters who apparently don’t mind how much additional tax must be raised so that teachers can have what they desire. Being a part of these online discussions, I’ve come to learn that on occasion, some who question whether the board might be on to something in trying to come up with a fair and sustainable raise for PREA members are dismissed as “teacher bashing.” PREA member @Martha Friend, whom I respect for having the courage to user her true identity, said as much in one post. It’s easy to think in black and white and easy to cast villains and victims. I thank you for reinforcing what I wrote to you: that disagreement does not equal disrespect. I’m glad you’re teaching your children this; it is a foundation of critical thinking.

    I’d like to remind you that what for you is a “modest increase” in tax could be someone else’s ticket out of town. I’ve asked this question before: Is it fair to people who have lived in Princeton for decades and want to stay in their homes to enjoy all our town has to offer to continue to pay annual modest increases so that teachers who many think are fairly compensated can pay less for health insurance? Many of these people are on fixed incomes; some grew up in Princeton and have lived here their entire lives. Others moved here for the schools, saw their children educated here and grow to adulthood and want to stay here because it’s a nice place to live. I asked this question, too: Is this the town we want, one where people are forced to sell so that those with higher incomes can move in (perhaps knocking down the old house in the process), send their kids to the schools, only to find themselves taxed out like the previous owners?

    Another question: Will our property values really be compromised if teachers are asked to share the cost of healthcare in the same manner as our administrators, support staff and municipal workers? I’ve already shared my skepticism regarding fears of a mass exodus of teachers, so I won’t repeat them here. It’s worth noting that great teachers retire every year and our housing values are not affected.

    Finally, I’d ask you to look at this chart of Mercer County average property taxes — I’ve included our neighbors in Montgomery, too — and think of those for whom “modest increases” become the tipping point that ends a lifestyle they enjoy. To be clear, the overall increases in residential tax bills are due to a number of factors, not just our schools. The county’s equalization formula, which is pegged to real estate sales, certainly has an impact on Princeton, where sales remained mostly stable during the economic downturn. So I do not attribute all increases to the school budget and I recognize the tremendous value we receive from our schools.

  • princetonparent

    I would not consider my support of teachers “blind devotion”. I happen to be well educated, work in finance and clearly understand what is sustainable and what is not. I do not believe that a slight increase in our taxes to help keep our schools at the quality that we have come to expect and rely on to help our community sustain our property values, is unreasonable. My children are not taught to be disrespectful of others opinions as you have implied, but they are taught they are allowed to question an opinion they do not understand, that does not seem like a strange lesson to me, but thanks for your concern.

  • Douglas Rubin

    Jason Burr deserves every penny. I am so glad my son was able to attend JWMS under his leadership.

  • @tkq

    @princetonresident:disqus: True that there are three administrators where once there were two, but there are also more observations to be completed and, it is hoped, we are better serving students. To be clear, I was not suggesting that a raise for PREA members would lead to program cuts. It was a raise in the 2.5 percent rang, along with an increase in healthcare contributions by taxpayers and the perpetuation of plans that require no deductibles that I feared would lead to program cuts, given the external pressures of rising enrollment, unpredictable healthcare costs and flat state aid at a time of increased state mandates. Also, I’d be curious to know how many teachers have been added to the faculty during the past three years while enrollment has been shooting up. My best guess — only a guess — is that number is between 6 and 10, maybe higher. If each of these new teachers were new to the profession, with a BA and starting at Step 1, their collective salaries would obviously be higher than that of a single administration.

    As I said, you can argue the merits of the supervisory structure and I know teachers everywhere certainly do, but PREA compensation constitutes the largest part of district personnel costs, which is as it should be. They are far larger than PAA and larger than PRESSA.

  • Princeton resident

    Thanks for the response. However, the fact that there are now three (two Language Arts and one Social Studies) administrators being paid over $100,000 each, when there were previously two, does seem to demonstrate that not all new salary expenditures require cuts in programs or expanded class size.

  • @tkq

    @princetonresident:disqus I’ll reply to the best of my ability, though I was not on the Personnel Committee at the time. I’m not trying to avoid accountability; obviously, I was president of the board. This latest instance involving supervisors was not adding a job; it was a realignment of personnel and positions that was consistent with the desire that additional curricular subject-area supervision support be made available at the elementary and middle-school levels. This was approved upon professional recommendation of Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane and was somewhat similar to a previous recommendation by the previous Superintendent Judith Wilson. I’ll attempt to explain, hoping that if I get something wrong, perhaps another former board member who was on personnel at the time will correct me. I have no problem admitting when I get something wrong.

    When the previous K-12 Language Arts Supervisor retired, Ms. Wilson recommended that her responsibilities be divided into separate grade-level supervisory positions: one focused on PreK-8 and the other on Grades 9-12. As I remember it, several factors influenced Ms. Wilson’s recommendation: the district had just completed an expansive overhaul of its elementary school writing program (long a perceived weakness by many) and proper implementation was crucial; it was thought that a supervisory team working in tandem could provide improved transitional services to students moving from the elementary schools to the middle school and from the middle school to the high school; and there was the practical reason that more administrators would be needed for the greatly increased teacher observations mandated by the state under its so-called tenure reform act, called TEACHNJ

    This model was adopted with changes by Mr. Cochrane when the previous PreK-12 social studies supervisor announced that he would be returning to the classroom. Mr. Cochrane saw a need to establish and/or reinforce what he refers to as a “global mindset” at the K-8 level. As a former elementary and middle school principal and as a former assistant superintendent for curriculum, his thinking regarding what he also refers to as “global competencies” is well-informed. Recognizing the difficulty in adding another supervisory position, Mr. Cochrane recommended that the Grades 9-12 Language Arts supervisor take on additional responsibilities of the Grades 9-12 social studies supervisor, essentially consolidating those two areas into a single humanities supervisor at the high school level. Simultaneously, he recommended a new position, Supervisor of Social Studies and Global Education (PreK-Grade 8). I will attach the position description in another post, since links must be approved by the moderator. I think Mr. Cochrane also recognized that this would result in better transitions between grades and schools and that supervisory levels would be need to remain at existing levels while the state was refining the protocols for increase teacher observations. (I seem to recall hearing in my last meeting on the board that the state was rethinking the number of observations.)

    So while Ms. Wilson’s decision did create an additional supervisory position, Mr. Cochrane’s did not. Both were student-centered recommendations approved by the board. I have no direct knowledge of the this at all, but it is possible that supervisory postions will continue to evolve during Mr. Cochrane’s (hopefully long) tenure at Princeton’s superintendent. I hope I’ve answered your question.

  • Just semantics, but I believe you’re describing co-pays, which are paid for each visit (for instance), whereas deductibles are a threshold of out-of-pocket costs one must reach before insurance kicks in. The latter are commonly applied on a per calendar year basis. (That’s putting it simplististically I realize.)

  • Princeton resident

    You write that “The real rise in personnel is among teachers and other professionals represented by PREA.” This makes me curious about the rationale behind the decision to spilt the Language Arts Supervisor (administrative) position into two equally compensated ($100,000+) positions effectively doubling the cost for a job that in all other disciplines is done by one administrator. Tim, perhaps as a former member of the personnel committee, you could address this?

  • resident

    Is there a report you can cite that backs up the claim that the dramatic increase in education is primarily due to administrative expenses?

  • @tkq

    @parenttoo: Exactly. Critical thinking does not mean criticism or lack of respect. To extend the example you’ve given regarding your children, some of what we’ve heard from PREA supporters is roughly equivalent to this (paraphrasing what I’ve witnessed at board meetings and seen watching broadcasts of meetings): “I don’t know all of the issues involved, but my teachers are sad and I want you to make them happy.” Such blind devotion to teachers is touching, and should not be unusual in a town like ours, but it does not consider the consequences of acceding to PREA’s demands. It does nothing to solve the very real challenges the district faces.

  • @tkq

    @Community Conscience: While I think your point is well taken where higher education is concerned, in my time on the board (2008-2014), there was a modest (non-dramatic) increase in relatively lower-paying administrative positions, mostly in response to a dramatic increase in state-mandated classroom observations and in an effort to better serve students with special needs. That said, Princeton is in the minority of districts having content-area curriculum supervisors (English/social studies, science, math, world languages, fine and performing arts, special ed, global learning), reflecting a rich and deep curriculum at the middle and high school and a desire to add global perspectives at the elementary school level. We are also unusual in that many districts have assistant principals in elementary schools, while we pay teachers a modest stipend to fill that role as “administrative interns.” One can debate the merits of the content-area curriculum supervisors, but I do know that our former superintendent considered them to be a strength of our district.

    The real rise in personnel is among teachers and other professionals affiliate with PREA. To keep elementary class sizes low — this matches our community values — the district hires elementary school teachers whenever enrollment rises at a particular school. This is one of the harsh realities the district faces going forward: Can those class sizes be maintained? We also have a wide range of electives at the high school level: Princeton is one of the few high schools to offer organic chemistry and multivariable calculus. I believe it is the only high school where students can study physical anthropology and forensics. The list of AP courses, particularly in the arts and humanities, is longer than most comparable schools.

    These are all in line with community values and this is what these PREA negotiations are all about: Can we afford to give PREA what they desire without having to reduce opportunities for students? Something has to give. Apparently, the board has found a way it believes it can give teachers a raise, offer them additional options on healthcare while maintaining (and improving) programs in all our schools during a time of rising enrollments and fixed costs. Since I’ve worked with several members of the board in the past, I do not doubt this plan. Again, I think it’s time for PREA to take the deal.

  • Community Conscience

    ^^^ There IS no picture of affordable education in the future ^^^ That’s what people are going to have to realize.

  • Community Conscience

    It matters because the increasing scope and cost of administrators is driving the cost of education to untenable levels nationwide.

  • Community Conscience

    The point is simple – locally and nationally the dramatic increases in the cost of education are PRIMARILY due to the increase in administrative positions and administrative salaries. When you add on the pension and healthcare costs (which are about to rise dramatically, thank you Obamacare) you quickly get to untenable levels. And that’s where we are.

  • @tkq

    @Adele Goldberg: I think the board is trying to avoid what is a reality in other districts: fees for co-curricular activities. While you’re sincere offer is generous, not all parents of our student athletes can afford these fees. I’m not saying they will not happen someday, only that some of the board members I know would be reluctant to do so.

  • @tkq

    @princetonparent: I have no more information than you do because I was prohibited by law from participating in negotiations because of my wife’s membership in PREA. Everything I’ve written is based on public statements and press reports. I haven’t even been on the board in six months and don’t know two of the three new members.

    I suspect some people here are not just being negative. They have more data upon which to make an informed decision. They’ve seen two unions come to terms with the board amicably after productive negotiations that lasted a few months. They now know how teachers are compensated for their vital and difficult work. They’ve learned that PREA has been offered at least the same deal, maybe even a better one, as the other unions, They’ve seen negotiations that have gone on for more than a year year and, unless anyone’s heard otherwise, are now entering their 13th hour today. And, considering everything, some of them are concluding that PREA should take the deal.

  • @tkq

    @princetonparent: I’ve said this many times. I have deep and abiding respect for all teachers, including those who teach in Princeton. I don’t begrudge them a dime of what they make. I just think that in this instance, with these negotiations under the serious threats our district faces the proposals PREA has put forward are not sustainable — I believe they will lead to cuts in programs that kids and parents, even those supporting teachers now, will find difficult to accept. As such, I think they are reckless and short-sighted. You know, some members of PREA and some of their parent supporters seem to think it’s not possible to simultaneously respect someone and disagree with them. What are we teaching our children? Disparage those with whom you disagree? That respect equals agreement? Strange lessons indeed.

  • princetonparent

    @parenttoo I think we are making a lot of assumptions that we know all of the in’s and out’s of the contract negotiations. To be fair to ALL sides, i think everyone should assume that the teachers are not greedy, but trying to get a fair and respectful contract. tkq may have more information that we do since he was on the board. I can not judge whether or not the contract offer to the teachers is fair based on what has been written in the newspapers and social media. Just as with any negotiations, the only ones that know ALL of the information are the people actually doing the negotiations. I am just reading a lot of negative comments from people who are not on these negotiation teams.

  • parenttoo

    I’m not tkq, but I question why it is deemded “incredibly negative” to have the opinion that teachers have been presented a fair offer? Can you accept that it is possible to have a great respect and even reverence for the public school teachers of our district and to also feel that the contract offer is fair, for the greater system, and for the sustainability of the system? Like sometimes I have to tell my own kids, not giving you everything you want doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

  • princetonparent

    tkq-you say you support teachers, your wife is a teacher, family in education. It seems like you support any teachers that are not PREA. Why the issue in our own town? My children are getting a great education and I am proud of our district, our teachers, our administrators, our coaches, our secretaries,and
    our nurses. It takes a village. It takes respect of our educational system from top to bottom. If you are representing the Princeton School Board, past or present, you seem incredibly negative towards the people who teach, encourage and protect my children, and many others on a daily basis. Why?

  • Rob Dodge

    Not quite:
    From the “Total Budgetary Per Pupil Cost” in the 2015-2016 State format “User Friendly Budget” from both districts:
    Trenton $17,154
    Princeton $19,333

  • Adele Goldberg

    As a parent of a soccer player and a previous fencer, I think a lot of parents would be willing to pay a fee for our kids’ after school teams (with need-based waivers granted as needed). I could also live with fewer administrators. Princeton needs to make clear how much we value our teachers, who we count on to inspire our kids every day.

  • resident

    Yes, many of the administrators get good salaries. But unless the district is paying much higher salaries than other districts pay their administrators (is it?), this information isn’t relevant.

  • @tkq

    @Paid well in Princeton: And? It appears some teachers are making more than administrators. Worth noting, too, that all of these people agreed to maintain Tier 4 Contributions under Chapter 78.

  • Paid well in Princeton

    The administrators salaries- 2015-16 plus longevity

    John Anagbo,
    $138,554.00
    $1,230
    $139,784

    Baxter,
    Jessica
    $119,485.00
    $1,061
    $120,546

    Burr,
    Jason
    $161,820.00
    $1,437
    $163,257

    Charlston,
    Timothy
    $112,629.00
    $1,000
    $113,629

    Cirullo,
    Bill
    $189,665.00
    $1,686
    $191,351

    Csolak,
    Eric
    $122,216.00
    $1,085
    $123,301

    Forman,
    Reynold
    $114,808.00
    $1,019
    $115,827

    Ginsberg,
    Robert
    $188,465.00
    $1,675
    $190,140

    Graham,
    Kristen
    $109,557.00
    $973
    $110,530

    Gruchacz,
    Dineen
    $152,028.00
    $1,350
    $153,378

    Harkness,
    Lynn
    $160,203.00
    $1,424
    $161,627

    Kosek,
    Anna Gonalez
    $174,079.00
    $1,546
    $175,625

    Krause,
    Joanne
    $149,721.00
    $1,330
    $151,051

    Lenihan,
    Patrik
    $126,965.00
    $1,128
    $128,093

    Miranda,
    John
    $147,032.00
    $1,307
    $148,339

    Rotz,
    Lori
    $146,162.00
    $1,290
    $147,452

    Russel,
    Priscilla
    $147,632.00
    $1,312
    $148,944

    Siso,
    Angela
    $135,619.00
    $1,205
    $136,824

    Snyder,
    Gary
    $189,633.00
    $1,685
    $191,318

    Warren,
    Jarred
    $114,284.00
    $1,015
    $115,299
    ,

  • Paid well in Princeton

    Name2013-14 Salary2014-15 Salary2015-16 Salary incl. longevityplus 2 vac days15-16 total inc 2 vac days15-16 Increase15-16 % increaseAnagbo, John$117,500.00$135,320.00$138,554.00$1,230$139,784$4,464.183.30%Baxter, Jessica$113,961.00$116,696.00$119,485.00$1,061$120,546$3,849.873.30%Burr, Jason$154,324.00$158,086.00$161,820.00$1,437$163,257$5,171.153.27%Charlston, Timothyn/a$110,000.00$112,629.00$1,000$113,629$3,629.003.30%Cirullo, Bill$181,147.00$185,415.00$189,665.00$1,686$191,351$5,935.593.20%Csolak, Eric$116,565.00$119,363.00$122,216.00$1,085$123,301$3,938.123.30%Forman, Reynold$109,500.00$112,128.00$114,808.00$1,019$115,827$3,699.353.30%Ginsberg, Robert$179,347.00$184,215.00$188,465.00$1,675$190,140$5,924.683.22%Graham, Kristenn/a$107,000.00$109,557.00$973$110,530$3,529.733.30%Gruchacz, Dineen$144,985.00$148,523.00$152,028.00$1,350$153,378$4,855.213.27%Harkness, Lynn$152,392.00$156,613.00$160,203.00$1,424$161,627$5,013.753.20%Kosek, Anna Gonalez$165,106.00$170,104.00$174,079.00$1,546$175,625$5,521.403.25%Krause, Joanne$142,829.00$146,292.00$149,721.00$1,330$151,051$4,758.933.25%Lenihan, Patrik$121,125.00$124,067.00$126,965.00$1,128$128,093$4,025.883.24%Miranda, John$139,402.00$143,735.00$147,032.00$1,307$148,339$4,603.683.20%Rotz, Lori$138,484.00$141,866.00$146,162.00$1,290$147,452$5,585.693.94%Russel, Priscilla$141,002.00$144,335.00$147,632.00$1,312$148,944$4,609.143.19%Siso, Angela$129,425.00$132,542.00$135,619.00$1,205$136,824$4,281.933.23%Snyder, Gary$179,941.00$185,295.00$189,633.00$1,685$191,318$6,022.503.25%Warren, Jarred$109,000.00$111,616.00$114,284.00$1,015$115,299$3,682.693.30%

  • Curious

    I would really like some transparency about whether the coaching jobs are open market. I know there are non-PREA/non teacher assistant coaches. However we have continually heard that even dedicated non-teacher assistant coaches who have worked in the district for years can never be promoted to a full or head coach if a teacher wants the job, even if the teacher is less qualified, its first dibs for teachers on the majority/main coaching jobs. And when non-teachers have applied for open positions, the word on the street at least is that a non-teacher will never have a chance at the more lucrative stipend coaching jobs if any teacher wants that job. First dibs on job for the teacher, regardless of experience & qualifications. I would like the facts on this, though, I would like to know if this is a contractual obligation that coaching positions must always go to teachers first. I think there are good reasons why teachers can make good coaches, and if a teacher happens to be the best qualified coaching applicant, that’s convenient. But there are also reasons why it is not good for the program if teachers have an entitlement to the coaching positions, and they are not open market positions.

  • @tkq

    @disqus_ktzmlL6tmT:disqus: Well said.

  • Daphne

    The deductibles you list are very similar to what we pay with Princeton University’s health insurance. We also pay almost 50% of the premiums!

  • larry7410

    I’ll add the fact that both my daughters coaches never played the sport they coached before. Not sure that fits with your “super high quality” comment. And i agree with the comment by SFB below. I was typing something very similar before reading SFB’s.

  • Pat Palmer

    P S – For perspective, my husband works at ETS and we use his health plan. And we pay $20 deductible minimum for everything, $40 deductible for a specialist, $100+ for ER, etc. I really don’t see why teachers with salaries like this should demand anything better than that. It’s pathetic that this is what our economy has come to–but it has. As for raises, maybe Wall Street and financial people, or huge corporations, give out generous annual raises. But most non-profits have been stalled in salary increases for the past several years. Again, why should teachers expect to get more than most people who are not teachers? I want to be sympathetic, but some of the “demands” I’m hearing seem a little bit excessive given the bad state of the economy for everyone else–and the incredibly high costs of education in Princeton already.

  • Pat Palmer

    I don’t begrudge teachers these salaries, because I know how hard they work and how much “extra, outside hours” teaching requires even in the best of situations. As far as contracts, perhaps teachers should relax a little and give the process more time. Those of us in non-teaching jobs don’t have any contracts or guarantees whatsoever, either. It’s a hard world, and in my view, teachers do struggle–but along with the rest of us non-teachers. Many of us have not seen decent raises (in the business world) in the past several years. I hope teachers do get an adequate contract. I’m a lot more upset, however, that the board rehired a food services company that thinks paying cooks $9 per hour (with little or no benefits) is generous.

  • Lee Genchrist

    If I am wrong, please correct me, but I am almost certain that these stipends have been afforded to non-PREA members in the past. In fact, the “Lacrosse-Girls Coach” position is posted publicly, on the PPS website where there is an option for “External Applicants” to apply. Furthermore, EPES stipends do not appear to be a critical issue at the negotiations table. I question why they have become a central point of argument.

    I understand what you are saying about the net effect of a stipend on salary, but presenting stipends as compensation that everyone is afforded seems like a misrepresentation of the data. There are PREA members that are compensated for hours beyond full-time for teaching extra classes or taking on additional job roles, yet there is no indication of this in the data. This skews the perception of how PREA members are compensated. I think it would be more beneficial to look first at PREA members’ base compensation before looking at an incomplete aggregate.

    In light of contract negotiations, it is extremely important that the public is presented with a transparent picture of PREA member compensation. Data that combines base salary with additional job roles that some, not all, of the PREA members are paid for is incomplete.

  • @tkq

    @SFB: A very good question for the superintendent, which I will ask once he’s left the bargaining table. I’m wondering, too, if WW-P has a preschool program, which is about $1million. A quick look at the DOE Taxpayer Guide to Education Spending reveals that student-to-teacher ratios are smaller in Princeton than in WW-P and per-pupil support services are significantly higher. Per-pupil extracurricular costs are higher, as are per-pupil admin costs.

  • Curious

    I’m not sure if it is correct that stipends are included in the average, but if so, why wouldn’t it be appropriate to do so? If only PREA teachers/members are eligible to receive the stipends and hold the stipend-compensated roles then wouldn’t it be incorrect to not include the stipends? If the stipend-compensated roles may only be held only by teachers, and are not open market jobs, then those stipends are going to be paid to a teacher, and regardless of the mix and sort of what individuals are or are not getting stipends, it still would be part of the total to calculate the average compensation. If the stipend-compensated jobs are not open market, then the stipends are really not “extra” compensation in terms of the cumulative whole from which the average is calculated, if the stipend-compensated jobs are always held by a PREA member/teacher then all the stipends represent is sort of a flex-spread job description option, eg, sometimes the job description for two people would be “History Teacher & Coach + Math Teacher Non-coach” and sometimes it would be “Math Teacher & Coach + History Teacher non coach”, but its never going to be “Math Teacher + History Teacher + Stipend-Not-Going-to-a-Teacher”.

  • SFB

    I agree with that concept, but the data I have seen (at NJ Spotlight) specifically included all students, including those sent to other districts. WW-P used a budget of $167 million to educate 9,684 students in ’12-’13, whereas Princeton spent $82.2 million to educate 3,454 students. That works out to $17.2K per student at WW-P, versus $23.8K per student at Princeton – i.e. 40% more at Princeton.

  • @tkq

    @AReasonablePerson:disqus: I think, for the most part, it is money well spent. The issue here is how much more money can we devote to teacher compensation without cutting programs. Can we, in a time of rising enrollments and budget constraints, continue to pay PREA what they desire and ease the burden of state-mandated healthcare contributions without limiting opportunities for kids? I think the answer is no. Say that is less about the teachers and more about our current economic reality.

  • @tkq

    It is money well spent. The issue here is how much more money we can afford to spend on teachers without compromising the fine programs in place at our schools.

  • @tkq

    @disqus_98gMM4nW3I:disqus: One contributing factor that makes our per-pupil higher than other districts is that we keep many (but not all) of our special needs students in district rather than paying to place them out of district. When a district places a student with special needs out of district, that student’s tuition does not count against the district’s per-pupil expense because, strictly speaking, they are not in district. However, in many cases, it is much less expensive overall for the district to provide comparable services to multiple students, even though it results in a higher per-pupil expenditure. So while the district may pay up to $60K a year for an out-of-district special ed placement (twice that for a severely disabled student), it may, depending on the case, cost less than half of that amount to keep a kid in district. Besides the cost savings, I as a citizen believe that if we can offer the services they need, it is better for special needs students to stay in district. Time and again, I’ve seen examples of special needs students enriching the overall educational experience of everyone in a school.

  • PrettySmart1

    Money well spent.

  • Lee Genchrist

    Does this number account for PREA members that have additional job roles and make more than a full-time salary?

  • PrettySmart1

    Which is presumably just another incentive for the teachers to be great, which the vast majority of them are.

  • Daphne

    One valuable benefit teachers receive is the ability to send their children to Princeton schools if they don’t live in the district. If I’m reading the contract correctly, they pay 2k/year for this. It sounds like a bargain when you consider that someone could live in another district with more affordable housing but worse schools yet send their kids to PPS for much cheaper than private school tuition.

  • resident

    I have to push back as well. Those achievements are great, but the conclusion you are drawing would say that when schools don’t do well, it’s because they don’t have good administrators, teachers, etc.. I don’t think that’s fair to the many great people working in education throughout the system. There are great people working everywhere.

  • @tkq

    @Rob Dodge:disqus: I don’t think anyone is doubting that good work is done in our schools. I’m certainly not. The real issue here is whether all of the programs you cite, and additional opportunities for kids, will be compromised if the taxpayers meet the PREA’s demands during a time of rising enrollments and a 2 percent cap. I think the answer is yes, they will be compromised. You and I have had this conversation; we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • SFB

    I’m going to push back against that a little. I don’t doubt that everybody in our school system works very hard, but the thing that leads to the very high outcomes in Princeton is that we have a student body that is largely made up of the children of affluent, enagaged parents, many of whom are professors themselves. Trenton spends the same per student as Princeton, and does not see the same outcomes. Saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is therefore a simplification.

  • Rob Dodge

    Princeton High recently ranked #7 in state, #143 in country by US News and that includes non-open enrollment schools like charter / magnet. Other areas Princeton Public Schools have ranked recently include Odyssey (15 in world), JW Mathletes (4 in nation), Girls Swimming (2 in state), Euro Challenge (1 in nation), Studio Band (1st at Berklee competition 5 years in a row) to name just a few. This is the result of super high quality administrators, teachers, coaches, advisors and staff at all levels in the public school system and you get what you pay for.

  • Jeff

    I wish to remain annonomous – however, my salary listed in this guide that Planet Princeton posted is incorrect – I receive a stipend as part of my salary – however Planet Princeton just lists my salary as a salary with no stipends.

  • resident

    NjSpotlight lists the average base salary for 2013-14 years. For full-time positions, the average Princeton base salary is $77,474 (for 2013-4 and 2014-15).

  • @tkq

    @disqus_98gMM4nW3I:disqus: Exactly. You can’t have everything, even here in Princeton. You can’t continue to pay teachers more AND relieve them of healthcare contributions (no matter how onerous) at a time of rising enrollments, a budget cap, increasing healthcare costs and unfunded state mandates. Doing all of that and maintaining (let alone improving) a high-performing public school system will eventually require some cutbacks, which is why the board is holding the line on healthcare. No parent of students in the schools will talk about what they’re willing to sacrifice to pay teachers more: larger elementary class sizes, fewer electives at the high school, fewer sports and other co-curricular offerings could all become future realities.

  • SFB

    @tkq, if WW-P is paying median salary of $75,379, and Princeton is paying roughly the same ($77,634, including stipends), then why is our budget per student typically 50% higher? I always assumed it was because we had more highly-qualified and senior faculty, but that doesn’t seem to be reflected in the median salaries.

  • @tkq

    @guest: For that information, I would refer you to NJ Spotlight, which published all of the 2014 salaries, along with degrees and years of experience in its Interactive Map. It’s worth noting that where Princeton is concerned, @Planet Princeton has 2015 information.

  • resident

    The median is $75,418.

  • resident

    Based on the data in the table, if you disregard stipends and part-time positions, the average teaching salary is $77,474, almost identical to the figure in the article.

  • @tkq

    @sneezewort:disqus: If you’re that interested in administrator salaries, you can OPRA the info @Planet Princeton did. I know this much: When we mention union-represented administrators (principals, assistant principals, curriculum supervisors), we’re talking 20 or so employees. When you add central office administrators (super, assistant super, special services, BA, facilities), you’re talking about half a dozen (maybe more depending on the possible affiliation of special services assistants). That’s still around 30 people on 12-month contracts. (It’s possible I’m forgetting some.) PREA membership is about 350, with 130 of those earning $90K a year on 10-month contracts.

  • guest

    As noted in an above comment, though, Knapp’s average salary in this piece INCLUDES stipends. Misleading. Do these averages include stipends?

  • Lee Genchrist

    Why are stipends included as part of the average PREA salary? What is the actual average PREA salary without stipend? Wouldn’t this information be equally important? It would paint a more complete picture if we saw the median teacher salary as well. Thank you.

  • @tkq

    @Sneeze Wort: No, I would think, “dude,” that if you want to question someone’s objectivity by pointing our a past affliliation, you would have the courage to use your name and maybe state your background for the record.

  • Sneeze Wort

    Cool the jets, dude. Just being formal. Think of me as Batman.

  • @tkq

    @sneezewort:disqus Oh, sorry I did not give my usual qualifiers. Yes, I’m Tim Quinn, former BOE president. I’m also the husband of a teacher who is a member of an NJEA local, brother-in-law of school psychologist in an Abbot District, uncle to five teachers and friend to dozens more teachers and administrators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I’m also a non-represented public employees subject to Tier 4 premium contributions under Chapter 78. I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name, @Sneeze Wort.

  • resident

    why does it matter?

  • Sneeze Wort

    Agreed. This is reasonable. Glad to hear some reason.

  • Sneeze Wort

    Thanks, Tim Quinn, former president of the PPS BOE. Still looking for the actual numbers to be posted here. For fairness. And completeness.

  • guest

    A more complete picture would also include how many years of experience each teacher has, as well as their level of education.

  • SFB

    Given that any increase in the school board’s budget is subject to a 2% cap, a salary increase of more than 2% per year just seems really irresponsible. It would take money away from other educational activities.

  • Sneeze Wort

    I’m not clear on why having MORE information isn’t better. I find it very odd anyone would resist total transparency. Very odd.

  • @tkq

    @Sneeze Wort:disqus: I think this was the first in a series and is particularly timely because negotiations with PREA are going on today. In fairness, our administrators are also well compensated for vital, difficult and important work, just as our teachers are.

  • SFB

    No, it doesn’t matter.

  • Sneeze Wort

    Yes, it does matter.

  • resident

    Does it matter what the administrators’ salaries are? Those salaries are for different positions with different responsibilities and requirements. Comparing administrator salaries in Princeton to those in other districts would be a fair comparison. Otherwise, it’s an apples vs. oranges comparison.

  • Sneeze Wort

    Thanks for posting the teacher’s salaries. Where are the administrators’ salaries? Posting them would give us a more complete picture of the pay at PPS.

  • @tkq

    @disqus_98gMM4nW3I:disqus

    To the best of my knowledge, based on public statements, these are PREA’s demands:
    — A salary increase at least on par with the settlements of the other bargaining units, between 2.3 to 2.5 percent. (For all we know, their demand is much greater.)
    — To have taxpayers reduce their premium healthcare contributions below the levels paid by every other school employee in the state, by every municipal employee in Princeton and every other municipal and state employee in New Jersey.
    — A perpetuation of a healthcare choices under which teachers PREA members pay no deductibles for any service in any plan.

  • @tkq

    @marnaseltzer:disqus: The average salary is higher than in other well-regarded New Jersey school districts, including WW-P ($75,379), Hopewell Valley ($74,379), Chatham ($69,708), Montgomery ($69,190), Madison ($68,825), Haddon Township ($66,953) and Haddon Borough ($63,281). You must go into communities in Bergen County and West Essex County — towns that have much higher average tax payments than ours — to find higher average teacher salaries. These are base salaries from NJ Spotlight. It’s worth nothing that Planet Princeton’s info appears to be for this calendar year and is more up to date.

  • Resident

    It’s a good pension, but not that good. Current hires (since 2011) get x/60 percent of their salary per year in pension after they retire (plus health benefits) and they need to be age 65 to retire. Before 2011, it was much more generous. This is state law.

  • CP Mom

    This is important information, and thank you for taking the time to provide the info in such a useful format.

  • SFB

    I also applaud this effort, but compensation is not just salary. If you’re a teacher earning $80,000, you are vastly better off than, say, a plumber who takes in $80,000, because you have a really good healthcare plan, not to mention access to retirement plans and health plans. Those benefits are worth thousands if not tens of thousands. My understanding is that the negotiations are stalled over benefits, not salary.

  • larry7410

    Thats just what they get paid today. They also get paid for 30-40 years if they remain healthy at 80% of their salary + Health Benefits (correct me if i’m wrong). I’m not saying they should be paid more or paid less…just stating the facts so we see the big picture of affordable education in the future.

  • Marna Seltzer

    This is really helpful information. I encourage you to continue with this kind of reporting. Would love to know how Princeton compares with other districts.

  • @tkq

    Thank you for the fine reporting, Planet Princeton. Over the past year of negotiations, members of the community have requested data upon which to make an informed decision about whether the board of education’s offer to teachers is fair. Many of those who seek this information have neither the time nor the inclination to pore over the minutes of meetings or file an OPRA request. Thankfully, we have an independent media outlet willing to do the legwork. This offers as complete a picture as possible of teacher compensation, without getting into details of who chose which healthcare plan and details of their Tier 4 payments under Chapter 78. Well done, Planet Princeton.

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