|Not to further upset overworked, underpaid teachers (or taxpayers) but the National Education Association spends almost $390 million annually from its headquarters building in Washington, DC. Its budget is divided roughly into thirds: one-third is disbursed to state affiliates to pay for UniServ directors, ballot initiatives, organizing, and other projects; one-third pays for its physical plant, publications, computers, travel and paper clips; and the final third pays the salaries and benefits of the 600 or so NEA employees who work in DC and in regional offices.
That last amount is a staggering sum, considering the national union employs the usual complement of secretaries, receptionists, assistants, custodians and file clerks. An examination of NEA's 2008-09 financial disclosure report reveals an average salary the average teacher (or taxpayer) can only dream of.
NEA's payroll consists of three executive officers, six executive committee members, and 675 employees. Members of the board of directors receive no pay, only stipends for their travel to DC for meetings. High-ranking officers and employees receive additional stipends - some of which are substantial and taxable - but for these purposes we'll only peruse what the union reports as "gross salary disbursements." It bears noting that these figures are actual payouts. Some employees may have received less than their contracted salaries because they deferred income or worked less than a full year. Some may have received more than their contracted amounts because they cashed in sick leave or took previously deferred income.
Of the 684 employees and officers, 64 were interns or other workers who received only small amounts. Those 64 employees shared $253,614 between them. That leaves 620 workers who received a total of $68,289,059.
That's an average salary of $110,143.64.
The highest paid NEA employee last year was Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle. She received $321,926. Executive Director John Wilson received $299,191 and President Dennis Van Roekel was paid $295,658. The six members of the executive committee all received between $120,000 and $182,000.
Commentary by Mike Antonucci, director The Education Intelligence Agency
Elk Grove, CA