Share the Value - Total Compensation Statements

Some things are as predictable as a 3 pm afternoon thunderstorm in Miami during the summer. As soon as bargaining season begins between the Miami Dade School District and the United Teachers of Dade two things should be expected: the Superintendent announces a sudden economic catastrophe like no other and our “total compensation” statement appears in our employee portal reminding just us how lucky we are and how magnificently we are compensated. Although I recently appeared at a School Board meeting wearing a sign stating that after 14 years of teaching my base pay was only $44,900 according to my total compensation statement, I am actually being compensated to the tune of almost $86,000 (minus the $7,000 I contribute to insurance costs)! I’m rich b***h! The MDCPS is making it rain! Only I can’t pay the bills with health insurance and if I tried to show my total compensation to the bank when applying for a mortgage they would  surely get security to escort me to the door.

After joking around on Facebook that when my kids asked me, “What’s for dinner?” I would respond, “Your Cigna Health insurance plan,”  a former UTD Vice President signaled out Kafkateach’s irresponsible breeding habits as the reason the rest of you suckers can’t get a decent raise.

This was the former UTD VP’s comment: “Nobody ever talks about this, but if it wasn’t for the generosity of all of your peers, you would be paying over $700 a month for health insurance for EACH of your dependents. Tom wrote about the $150 subsidy he is getting from the state to bring down his health insurance costs. That is figured on $5.00 per month times a max of 30 years. It is a retirement benefit that isn’t even guaranteed.
YOUR dependent care subsidy comes directly out of the same pool of money that insurance and salary are paid from. The more dependents, the greater the subsidy. Typically it is less than 1/3 of employees that have dependent care at any given time. Imagine the subsidy costs that other employees are paying for someone with a spouse and 5 kids!
The District likes to say they are providing the subsidy. The reality is that your peers are paying for it with less money available for salary and benefits for the actual employees.”

I was so enraged by this former UTD VP’s suggestion that it was teacher’s like me who have the nerve to reproduce who are responsible for low salaries that I had to refrain from unleashing a chain of unladylike expletives in my response.

This was my semi-controlled response: “Guess what? This is the first year my kids are on the district health insurance because my husband lost his job. You are a real prick. My husband has no health insurance right now because at $44,900 a year I cannot afford to pay the extra $350 a month to insure him. For 12 out of my 13 years I opted out of district insurance and used my husband’s instead. For this I got an extra $60 a paycheck and it has been that way for over a decade even though the district claims health insurance costs keep rising. In the meantime I spent over a decade getting $0-$300 raises “subsidizing” everyone else’s health insurance and your generation of teachers getting $12,000 steps while I got $100. Now I get to spend the rest of my career subsidizing performance pay teachers and the union and district are just fine with that. You have some nerve talking to me about subsidizing! My kids are going to be part of the future workforce that subsidizes your retirement so STHU.”

Because I happen to be experiencing some major PMS and because I’m a Taurus so when you awaken the bull you better watch out, I continued: “You want to talk about subsidizing? Who subsidized your six figure salary as UTD Vice President? MDCPS employees. Who subsidized this slick UTD promotional video ? MDCPS employees. All of UTD is one giant subsidy from MDCPS employees. Both of my videos at no cost to anybody have more views than all of the UTD’s videos.

Needless to say that I did not get any response. That’s what’s nice about Facebook as opposed to a School Board meeting, you can actually have a chance to rebut someone else’s accusations.

The bottom line, which for most teachers happens to be their net pay every two weeks and not their total compensation statement, is that many Miami Dade County Public School employees struggle to make ends meet on district salaries. The district is well aware of this as each year they send out a friendly reminder email of our low salaries by requesting that only the truly destitute bother the district with the employment verification letters needed to apply for food stamps.

But when websites start publishing the fact that estimated monthly costs for a family of four, NOT INCLUDING RENT, amount to $3600, and many teacher breeders take home less than $3600 month, their total compensation statement is worthless in terms of making ends meet. Of course, according to former UTD top leadership, that’s our own fault because we chose to reproduce. Estimated monthly expenses for a single adult, not including rent, is only $994.

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