Portland State University today released a new study that compares total compensation costs for five large Oregon school districts and those in Seattle and Vancouver, Wash., and Boise.
Analysts commonly compare teacher salaries alone but doing so leaves out significant benefit costs.
The PSU study found that salaries are pretty comparable across the districts (in Oregon, those districts are Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Portland and Salem-Keizer), but there are significant variations in non-salary compensation.
The big differences come in two areas, the study, done by the Center for Public Service at PSU's Hatfield School of Government, determined.
Those areas are health insurance and pension costs.
Here's what the study found:
Employer Paid Health Insurance: The single largest reason for TECC cost variances for comparable teachers involved employer-paid health insurance costs. For Oregon districts, this TECC cost component ranged from an average low of $13,569 (Hillsboro) to a high of $18,713 (Lake Oswego). Seattle’s cost averaged $10,016 per teacher; Vancouver averaged $9,360 and Boise $7,320.Retirement Costs: For Oregon mid-career teachers, retirement costs (including Social Security, pension obligation bond repayments, and any PERS employee pick up) ranged from a low of $12,065 in Portland – which does not pay the 6% employee pick up for PERS – to a high of $16,473 in Salem-Keizer (which does). Seattle’s retirement costs ($12,058) were within this range, while retirement costs for Vancouver ($9,562) and Boise ($9,145) were significantly lower.
“The eight districts chosen are hardly representative or typical, and should not be taken as such,” Keisling writes. “The three states also vary widely in terms of key economic metrics. Five of the districts –Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Portland, Beaverton, and Vancouver – are all within the same Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA), where the reported 2015 per capita median personal income (CPPI) was $48,422. The other SMSA PPI medians are: Seattle ($61,021); Salem ($37,121) and Boise ($39,956).