About three week ago I had the pleasure to have a Burlington Area School District teacher tell me I am fabricating information about how well paid the BASD administration and staff are. According to him I was telling lies and misinforming the Burlington taxpayers.

                  I am a college graduate and have been a  small businessman for 37 years, and I have learned that when knowledgeable people tell me I am wrong, I must cite the research to validate my points.

                  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides a website to look up public employees’ information as it pertains to taxation of people. I found the BASD employee pay for the year 2010-11 and used the 128 top employee’s income figures. The BASD administration (superintendent, business manager, all principals, assistant principals, program director, support staff) has an average $90,000 salary and a range of $36,566 to $45,716 for benefits. The next tier of figures showed that the staff (mostly teachers) had a salary average of $71,740 and additional untaxed fringe benefits ranging from $19,938 to $36,566 per year.

                  I will acknowledge that the Act 10 constraints which the School Board applied for the 2011-12 school year has reduced the total package about $8,000 per staff member (reduction in health insurance premium costs and 5.2 percent portion of staff paid pension) however, usually leaving the salary figure untouched.

                  The U.S. Census Bureau for 2007 (the latest statistics available) when the economy was still strong placed the state of Wisconsin per capita income at $36,047. This placed the Wisconsin taxpayers at the 43 percentile of all U.S. income earners. The Wall Street Journal income percentile calculator developed by Phil Izzo provides the following income percentile earners nationwide. The administration on salary alone are at the 76 percent level and with benefits added they are in the 86 percentile. The next level (staff and teachers) are in the 68 percent category and with additional untaxed benefits they reach the 83 percentile.

                  I feel I have done my due diligence proving that the BASD staff is in the elite percentile of income. I will provide all sources of information to the curious minded.

Philip A. Ketterhagen

Town of Burlington