As C gets ready to enter his last year as an indentured servant, we have been doing a lot of research on where we want to move. Given that C teaches (and teaches math and ESL at that!), we know that there will be available jobs all over the country. It’s really a baffling thought: we can move anywhere we want. We just have to narrow it down. I basically ruled out the entire deep south due to climate. We ruled out Seattle, New York, Chicago, and all of California due to high housing costs. We ruled out Alaska and Hawaii due to distance. And we ruled out most of the midwest due to the fact that it’s just too boring there. That still leaves a lot of potential places.
We always thought, “Of course we’ll move; we can’t afford to stay here.” But now we’re not so sure. We’re learning that C’s current school district has some definite plusses.
- First, the pay. This has to matter. C will make more as a second-year teacher than a lot of teachers in other states will EVER make. This is huge.
- Second, the work of the union. Being in a liberal state means that C has very strong union representation. His teachers' union has negotiated nearly 5% yearly increases for the next three years, in addition to the usual step increases. So not only is his salary relatively high right now, by school year 2009 (only two years from now), he will be making 130% of his current salary. Amazing.
- Third, the benefits. Oooh, the benefits. Our (my) previous number one choice for place to live is (was) Fort Collins, Colorado. Their pay isn’t great, but it’s about average and the housing is affordable. However, some research told us that the health insurance through the district costs the employee over $500 a month for the employee and the employee’s family. The costs for a school district in Denver were over $1,000 per month. How do these districts expect employees who are making slightly over $36,000 a year afford insurance at those costs?! Compare that to our current school district: when we have kids, our insurance will be a whopping $80 per month. And that’s for everyone and everything: health, prescription, dental, and vision. Unbelievable.
- Fourth, next year he’ll have three prep periods. THREE. This mean he’s only teaching four classes per day. Compare this to Utah, who “generously” gave their teachers pay raises in exchange for increasing their teaching load to seven periods a day, with no prep classes. It’s almost embarrassing.
Those of you who know me will definitely know how depressed this makes me. But I just can’t ignore these facts. The only stumbling block to staying here would be the housing market. If things continue as they are, it’s quite possible we would be able to afford something fairly close, even as close as Baltimore. Just something we’re going to have to think about.