1) If I were to put Christie's entire plan into one sentence ("summarizing" is a "higher order thinking skill"!) it would be:
All teachers take a pay freeze this year and start paying 1.5% for their health insurance, and Christie will reward districts who get their teachers to do by giving them the Social Security/Medicare tax money we'll save from paying lower wages; this will make up almost all of the $820 million he cut in state aid.
2) I see a whole mess of problems with this:
- It's not just teachers, it's ALL school employees.
- He can't give back all the FICA (Social Security/Medicare) money, because he has to account for the offset loss in income tax.
- How reliable is that health insurance number in the face of health reform?
- NJEA says teacher salaries increased by only 3% in 2008-09; Christie's calculations rely on 4.3%, a big enough difference to matter.
- Is the Gov sure cafeteria workers all got 4.3% increases last year? His Ed Commissioner, Brett Schundler bases the calculations only on teacher contracts (4.3 % is, according the Schundler, the "average teacher contract settlement ." Uh, did you weight that by district size, Brett?).
- If you give them all their numbers (I wouldn't), they're still short.
4) Why does Christie choose to go after teachers instead of health insurers for insane increases? Gee, I wonder why...