Editorial: More for Gist, less for teachers?

The Tulsa School Board is considering signing Superintendent Deborah Gist to a new contract.

In the final year of her current three-year contract, she will make $431,977 in salary, fringe benefits and bonuses. That contract ends on June 30, 2018.

If you want to blame anyone for low teacher salaries, blame school administrators and local school boards.

Gist makes 10 times what a teacher makes. Sure, she has a big job as superintendent of a district as large as Tulsa but that level of compensation is too steep, particularly when there is a downturn in the state economy.

More money should go to the classroom teachers and less to bureaucratic administrators.

It is wrong to blame state legislators for low teacher pay. Decades ago, the Democrat-dominated Legislature made a decision that teachers would have low salaries but would get a generous lifetime pension on retirement.

That was the promise by the Democrats.

But they didn’t fund the pension account. They didn’t have to back then because there weren’t that many teachers on pensions.

About 10 years ago, the Republican-led Legislature determined to fully fund the pension account – devoting as much as $300,000,000.00 a year to make it solvent. That money doesn’t go to teacher salaries but to fulfill a broken promise from Democrats. And state lawmakers don’t decide teacher salaries. They can only determine the state minimum. They send education money – the biggest item on their budget – to the State Department of Education which parcels it out according to state law. The Tulsa School Board, based on recommendations by (you guessed it) administrators will probably recommend a multi-million-dollar contract for Gist.

And you wonder why teachers have to buy their own supplies.