Fiscal Intelligence

Fiscal analysis that enables educators, small business owners, and community organizers to make informed decisions.

Month: April, 2013


NYC Jobs Blueprint Report

To remain the world’s leading city of opportunity for business and residents, New York must maintain a solid rate of economic growth. To some extent, the pace of growth will be determined by macroeconomic forces and federal policies over which municipal government has little or no control. In partnership with the business community, organized labor and educational institutions, however, local government can anticipate and leverage market forces and apply municipal resources in ways that work to the city’s advantage and sharpen its competitive edge.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”NYC Jobs Blueprint Report” target=”_blank”>NYC Jobs Blueprint Report</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Luis Taveras MBA, MS</a></strong> </div>


Understanding the Teacher Salary Steps and the Triborough Effect

The Triborough Effect
Teacher salary schedules in NewYork State typically include 20 to 30 annual pay “steps” on each of at least four “lanes”-for teachers with bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, master’s plus 30 credits of graduate credits, and a master’s plus 60 credits. The following is a simplified example; many districts actually have more steps and lanes than shown here.  Most teachers spend most of their careers moving up salary steps-and, occasionally, across salary lanes-even if their union contract has expired, because the Triborough Amendment guarantees these changes. As a result, a school district’s salary cost rise even when union negotiations have reached impasse and there is no new contract. For the same reason, contract settlements calling for seemingly modest, inflation level increases in base salaries can be far more costly than they look. This is especially true in districts with predominantly younger teaching staffs.Figure 8 illustrates the projected 10-year pay history of a newly hired teacher, fresh out of college, working in a district with a salary schedule matching the reported medians for all Suffolk County districts in 2006-07. Assuming the teacher earns a master’s degree within two years-a prerequisite for certification-and assuming all base salary steps also increase annually by 2.6 percent under the union contract, her salary by Step 6 will reach $68,753, a pay boost of 58 percent after five years. Even if the salary schedule is frozen at 2006-07 levels due to a contract impasse, the Triborough Law guarantees that the Step 6 salary for a certified teacher with the same level of experience will reach $60,472, an increase of 39 percent in five years.  Earning 30 more graduate or “in-service” credits by the end of her sixth year will move the teacher up yet another lane on the salary schedule. Assuming a continued annual inflation level increases in base steps, the salary for this teacher in the “Masters + 30” lane by Step 10 will reach $100,687-an increase of 132 percent after 10 years on the job. Even if the salary schedule remained frozen throughout the period, Triborough would guarantee that the teacher’s pay by Step 10 reached $77,893-an increase of 79 percent from Step 1. By tacking on another 30 graduate or in-service credits during this period, the teacher could move to the “Masters + 60” lane and climb the ladder even faster, reaching $122,000 in her 11th year assuming continued inflation-level increases in base salaries. Higher pay for most public schools teachers is based solely on two factors: continued employment and extra training. But these are measures of inputs, not outcomes. According to the 2007 annual survey by the New York State School Boards Association, less than 2 percent of school districts said they based pay on performance, and only 9 percent said they used extra pay incentives to attract highly qualified teachers to their classrooms.  Few districts have even experimented with “performance pay” or other productivity measures, because unions and school administrators inevitably disagree over the outcome measures to be used in evaluating performance. However, it remains clear that any outcome measure, whatever its failings, would be a better measure of performance than longevity and added training alone.

-E.J. McMahon

Preview of the 2013 Comprehensive Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts

Comprehensive NIPA revisions differ from annual NIPA revisions primarily because of the scope of the changes. Comprehensive revisions typically incorporate three major types of improvements: (1) changes in definitions and classifications that update the accounts to more accurately portray the evolving U.S. economy and to provide for consistent comparisons with data for the economies of other nations, (2) statistical changes that update the accounts to reflect the introduction of new and improved methodologies and the incorporation of newly available and revised source data, and (3) changes in presentations that update the NIPA tables to reflect the changes in definitions and the statistical changes and to make the tables more informative. Comprehensive revisions are usually conducted at 5-year intervals that correspond with the integration of updated statistics from BEA’s quinquennial benchmark input-output accounts.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Preview of the 2013 Comprehensive Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts” target=”_blank”>Preview of the 2013 Comprehensive Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Luis Taveras MBA, MS</a></strong> </div>

Cutting to the Core by Charles Upton Sahm, City Journal Spring 2013

The choice of instructional materials can have as great an impact on student achievement as teacher quality and accountability, parental choice, and such innovations as charter schools—recent focal points of education reform. All of these can improve public education, but too little attention has been paid to curriculum, say Chingos and Whitehurst: “It’s as if the medical profession worried about the administration of hospitals and patient insurance but paid no attention to the treatments that doctors give their patients.”


Cutting to the Core by Charles Upton Sahm, City Journal Spring 2013.

Stable Contribution Option for Certain NYSTRS Participating Employers

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Stable Contribution Option for Certain NYSTRS Participating Employers” target=”_blank”>Stable Contribution Option for Certain NYSTRS Participating Employers</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Luis Taveras MBA, MS</a></strong> </div>

Educators in Florida challenged Eval System

The National Education Association, on behalf of three affiliates of its Florida chapter and seven teachers, sued the state education departmentRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader this morning, contending that the formula used to assess some teachers in the Sunshine State violates their constitutional rights.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Florida legal challenge” target=”_blank”>Florida legal challenge</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Luis Taveras MBA, MS</a></strong> </div>

Health Insurance Premium-Sharing by Employees and Retirees

The cost of health insurance for New York City public employees and retirees has more than doubled in the last ten years, and its continued growth will be a major driver of projected budget gaps. While the total city budget is projected to grow 11 percent from fiscal years 2012 to 2016, health insurance costs will grow by almost 40 percent and comprise 70 percent of the projected budget gap in 2016.  Currently, more than 90 percent of the municipal workforce is enrolled in health insurance plans that require no employee contribution toward the cost of the premium for basic individual and family coverage. The City continues to pay the full cost for employees and their families if they retire before the age of 65. When they enroll in Medicare at age 65, retirees are reimbursed by the City for the full cost of the Part B premiums.


<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Health Insurance Premium-Sharing by Employees and Retirees in the Public Sector” target=”_blank”>Health Insurance Premium-Sharing by Employees and Retirees in the Public Sector</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Luis Taveras MBA, MS</a></strong> </div>

Core Confusion by Sol Stern – City Journal

The press release that the DOE issued for the event explained the standards this way: “Under the new Common Core standards, students are required to write more, think critically and defend their ideas. Instead of sitting in rows answering questions, they work in teams to solve real-world problems.” That description is wrong in several ways. 


Core Confusion by Sol Stern – City Journal.

The Face of Government: Education