So, what’s the point?

On April 19 and 26 paid advertisements with no name attached to them were published in the Fulton County Expositor containing a list of Wauseon Exempted Village Schools staff members and their corresponding salaries. There is no description of what this implies. I think, it implies that the citizens who live in the Wauseon school district pay a lot of money for salaries. While that is a fact, there is more to it than that. It is a well-known fact that any service-oriented business devotes a high percentage of it’s operating cost to salaries. Statistics show that Wauseon’s percent of total budget for staffing is about 74% while 80% and above is the norm in the state.

Let’s examine what those numbers really mean. Every school district in Ohio has an adopted teacher’s salary schedule. Wauseon’s beginning salaries are as follows: Bachelor’s Degree – $38,640, Bachelor’s + 30 semester hours – $40,186, and master’s degree – $42,118. The salaries posted in the April 12 advertisement reflects not only these various degree levels, but also their years of experience. As you examine the list that was presented on April 12 you will find only one salary at a Beginning Bachelor and two at a Bachelors + 30 Semester Hours. What you see are many teachers who are experienced and well-trained professionals. The fact that so many staff members stay in Wauseon is a credit to the quality of education the children in our district receive.

One might ask how Wauseon compares with other districts in our area regarding the amount of local tax collected per student. Of the eight NWOAL schools, Wauseon has consistently been the lowest and collected $3,484 per student in 2021. That compares with a high at $10,849 and an average of $6,667 among the eight school districts.

It should be noted that Wauseon has not had an increase in funding in 10 years. Studies show that the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years was 1.93% per year. That means the cost for the schools for goods and services beyond salaries has risen more than 19%. In addition to those rising costs, the district has lost approximately $1,000,000 in federal and state funding.

Based on the above data, I believe the Wauseon Schools have been prudent with their expenditures while providing a quality educational program for the students of our district. I urge folks to vote for the 1.75% Earned Income Tax Levy on May 3.

Jerry Smith