My posts on funding Christian education have drawn more attention than I was anticipating. Next week I want to write in greater depth about teacher salaries, but wanted to make just a few quick comments here.
First, it should be taken as a given that a Christian school should remember that it was the Lord who taught that a laborer is worthy of his hire. Underpaying people on purpose is not an exercise in discipleship. The goal of every school board should be to pay their teachers a respectable and generous wage for their services.
Second, it should be obvious that because a school is the kind of service industry it is, the greatest costs associated with the school will be payroll. How much you pay the teachers, and the way you pay them, will have a direct impact on your funding model — which, as I mentioned earlier, is usually either tuition/donation and full tuition. Raising the price of tuition, depending on where you live and how many people live in that area with you, will either lower demand or change the nature of the demand.
Third, money is at the center of this (not surprisingly) but if schools make it just about money, they will not only change the nature of their school, but also the temptation will be set for the wrong kind of teacher. Charles Murray points out in one of his books that teachers historically have been highly honored, but not paid handsomely. In recent years, in the government school system, teachers have unionized, formed themselves into a profession, and been paid very well . . . and are generally despised. An ed degree is frequently ranked down there with a degree in underwater basket weaving.
And last — with more on this to come in the near future — a good school that is operating creatively can figure out ways to provide a very generous income for teachers who are motivated to teach for the right reasons. For just one example, if having your children enrolled in the school is a condition of employment, and tuition of 4K a year is waived for teachers’ kids on top of that, a teacher with four school aged kids can realize 16K in soft benefits. That would be just one example.
And like I said, more to come.