Teachers in Oklahoma, West Virginia, North Carolina and two to three other states have walked off the job due to low pay. A recent cover article in “Time” read “I have twenty years of experience, but I can’t afford to fix my car, see a doctor for headaches or save for my child’s future. I’m a teacher in America.”
Teachers don’t enter the field for high salaries, but they still have the same needs as everyone else.
This is a suggestion for some ways to increase teacher salaries and reduce class size.
• Consolidate six local school districts into one district. This would result in a district about one tenth the size of the Houston Independent School District. This would result in reduced administrative costs. A few years ago, the La Marque schools were placed into the Texas City school district, due to not meeting Texas Education Agency requirements. There were no negative impacts to the students.
• Eliminate all school sports except intramural sports. School buses cost about $1 per mile to operate. This includes bus driver pay, maintenance costs and ownership costs. For example, a typical football game will use three to four busses including the team and coaches, the band, the cheerleaders and marching groups.
For a game played in Brownsville, for example, the round trip distance is about 800 miles. The cost of using four buses would be about $3,200. For other sports like baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc., one bus would be used at a cost of about $800 round trip.
There are various size categories and the schools usually play other schools of about the same size. The typical distance to a game is about 50 to 60 miles, one way. It would be more affordable to take the team on one bus and have the band, cheerleaders, etc., to carpool or van-pool to the games, perhaps by the PTA.
There is a downside to this. Some students stay in school to play sports. This is the trade-off: Is it worth the increase in teacher salaries and smaller class size to keep these students in school?
There are other ways of motivating students, such as demonstrating the need of the high school diploma for employment and for going to college. The Catholic high school students are twice as likely to graduate from college (per the National Center for Education Statistics.) The Catholic schools accomplish this without the high cost of transporting teams, bands, cheerleaders, etc.
I think this demonstrates that we can do without the high cost of the sports programs. I solicit input on these thoughts from all interested parties, both for and against the thoughts presented herein.