How do Walnut Creek school districts measure up when it comes to spending on teacher salaries?

An Oakland Tribune education writer has put together an interesting spread sheet that examines what percentage of their budgets school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties spend on salaries for teachers and instructional aides. 

By law, according to reporter Katy Murphy, unified school districts in California must spend at least 55 percent of their expenses on classroom teachers and instructional aides. For elementary school districts it’s 60 percent; for high school districts it’s just 50 percent. 

Murphy was initially focused on Oakland Unified when she began collecting data, but she found other interesting numbers as well for the 2008-09 year that apply to other East Bay Districts.  Here’s the percentage spent by districts that serve Walnut Creek:

Walnut Creek Elementary: 67 percent
Mt. Diablo Unified: 62 percent
Acalanes Union High School District: 56 percent (by the way the lowest percentage in Contra Costa County)

Lafayette Elementary: 67 percent
San Ramon Valley Unified: 64 percent

UPDATE: You asked, I was able to find out. I was sharing an interesting tidbit of information I came across, but a reader also wanted to know what teacher salaries were in each district. Good question. And here you go. This is the average salary for a teacher in each district in 2008-09 and the data comes from the California Department of Education, School Fiscal Services Division: 

Walnut Creek Elementary: $65,472
Mt. Diablo Unified: $61,095
Acalanes Union High School District: $75,477

Lafayette Elementary: $64,182
San Ramon Valley Unified: $64,717

14 thoughts on “How do Walnut Creek school districts measure up when it comes to spending on teacher salaries?

  1. This article is one side of the picture. While an interesting tidbit, it doesn't show the whole picture. Look at what the teachers actually make in these districts. The WCSD are one of the lowest paid teachers in the County. They make less than even the MDUSD teachers! The State funds the districts differently and the WCSD gets a very low pay out from the state. The WCSD is not funded by the city. The AUHSD has some of the highest paid teachers in the STATE! So, I'd like to see a follow up article on this issue also.


  2. I think this is just about SM's first attempt at using statistics in her blog – cut her some slack…


  3. Cut some slack? Heck No.

    Professional journalists have a obligation and duty to provide to present both sides of the issue and point out what may or may not be considred. As you can see, real journalism is a dead and dying profession.


  4. Great stuff! Even more interesting would be the top pay and lowest pay.. Averages tell us something but not everything. The MDUSD teachers can make more than the WCSD (I have friends that work in both district) , but so many older teachers have left that the average has been drawn down. Also the Lafayette Elementary HAS FULL MEDICAL BENEFITS which isn't on the pay scale. My contention is that the WCSD teachers put out a great product for the lowest wage. Can you post the top and lowest pay possible? Then we have the whole picture! THANK YOU!


  5. 60% spent on teachers and in classrooms in Elementary school
    55% otherwise at other schools


    That mean 40-45% is being spent on administration and other costs, not the kids. Do you think it is a little more than top heavy with people sitting behind desks collecting six figure salaries?


  6. I hereby withdraw any sympathy I previously had for the AUHSD. They tricked us into passing a new parcel tax with a ballot by mail election and now I see these salaries. The teachers do work hard, but they don't work a full year either, 186 in service days vs. 250 (50 weeks * 5 days) or so for private employees . Check out the data found here:

    If you follow the ed-data link for the district you will find all sorts of interesting data. Look up class size figures and see that the last two years they have been by far the lowest as far back as the chart goes (1999). District wide for 2008-2009 the figure was 22, and they're complaining?

    Please don't be sending around mailers begging for more money. You got your parcel tax and I ain't giving any more.


  7. What would really be interesting is to list teachers and administrators by name along with their salary.

    This info is available for most other government employees. Why not teachers, aids, consultants, admins, etc.?

    Oh by the way, that scream you just heard was from the teacher's union.


  8. Okay here is some information I found off of the district's websites:
    WCSD: Low: 41,170 Highest: 79,143
    (partial medical benefits)

    Lafayette: Low: 40,950 Highest: 79,922 (FULL MEDICAL BENEFITS)

    MDUSD: Low: 44,650 Highest: 82,326
    (no medical benefits)
    AUHSD: Low: 40,000 Highest: 89,801 (FULL MEDICAL BENEFITS)

    SRVUSD: Low 44,376 Highest: 83,949
    (not sure on the medical)
    My point is that WCSD teachers are paid lower than the surrounding areas.


  9. I believe this is total compensation and not just salaries. Someone correct me if I misread the blog.

    When you see partial or no benefits, remember that in many cases more money is paid be the employee for their benefits.

    Elementary school districts are funded at a lower amount per student. Next is Unified school districts like MDUSD. High school only school districts receive the most per student.

    When you are looking at the %, remember that they are other employees who are paid such as instructional assistants, classified workers, maintenance and operations – not just administration.

    Don't forget the budget also includes maintenance of properties, electric, water, etc.


  10. Regarding YYZ's comment: Can someone be an actual journalist when they use a pseudonym like Soccer Mom?


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