Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seattle Schools and Salaries

You do know there's a place to look up everyone's salary who works for SPS?  You didn't; well, here it is. 

Note; this is 2014-2015. The Spokesman-Review had other data including this:

Michael Tolley made $220,000 in the 2015-2016 school year.

The Superintendent, Larry Nyland, made $308,000 that year.


Anonymous said...

I realize that public employeee's salary data is public information but I find this type link is often misused.

The latest example, a really nice MS History teacher I was talking to, resignedly commenting about how his students learn his salary every year.

I wish we didn't public the rank and file info.


Melissa Westbrook said...

You mean how public dollars are spent? I disagree.

Anonymous said...

good money in teaching - do that job
tolley getting 220k - do that job - but way better than him

mw thanks as transparency is the best and you do that better than anyone.

no caps

Anonymous said...

You can have transparency in how public dollars are spent while still masking identities. This is taking transparency too far.


Melissa Westbrook said...

FNH, no one is giving out addresses or SS numbers. They are public employees, all of them.

Interesting to say the least.

Another Parent said...

I suggest you remove the link from this blog.

Yes, I was interested and went and looked up our child's teacher's salary, and I'm sure others have as well. But I would have never done so if you hadn't posted the link.
As the public, we may have the right. But where does it stop?

I believe its valid if researchers need this information, for example, to understand the relationship between experience (thus higher salary) and underperforming or high poverty schools.

But, is it ok if I filter the list by school, and go post copies on the school bulletin board or leave them in the break room, in size 24 font? Is it ok if I make copies and hand them out at the next PTA or school board meeting? Should I take a copy along when I go to my child's conference?

By posting the link, you seem to be saying as long as its legal there is no line. Regardless of the law, I believe there is.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what Another Parent says. It is perfectly reasonable to make publicly available public employee salary ranges with years of experience, or even individual salary data but with identities masked. To draw attention to this (hopefully obscure) link with names and detailed salary information is a kind of doxxing. Ask yourself, how would you like your detailed salary information made public, when others are given the respect of privacy? Would it be just one more reason to avoid public service, to add to the heap?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. It's a public document printed in a newspaper of record in the state.

Doxxing? No, it's not. Others "get the respect of privacy" because they are not paid by taxpayer dollars.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, just to note, my late husband worked at UW and his salary was available for all to see for decades. We didn't find that a problem.

Michael Rice said...


2014-2015 financials

Salary: $55,238
Bonuses/Stipends: $18,038
Insurance/Benefits: $9,888
Total Compensation: $83,164

Biographical information

Experience: 9 years
Highest Degree Obtained: M (2000)
Gender: Male
Age: 57

It is public information. Not much you can do about it. Thank you to the Seattle taxpayers for supplementing my state salary. I could not make ends meet without it. It is interesting, I am 57 now, not in 2014 - 2015.

A couple of observations: When people talk about how much they make, they don't include insurance and benefits in that statement. So when the media how hates the teachers union starts braying about how much teachers make and how easy they have it because they have "summers off," make sure to do an apples to apples comparison to what you make. For those of you who can't add in 2014 - 2015, I made $73,276 as a 9th year teacher. That is pretty good until you find out that in 2002, my last year in the private sector, I made a little over $90,000 as a financial analyst for a bank. Now, please understand, I am not complaining, I know what I was getting into and I love being a teacher. I do want the taxpayers of Seattle to know (by the way I am one of those also), that I put in more than a full day (I was teaching night school at North Seattle during 2014 - 2015 plus I taught summer school) and I am sure the taxpayers a getting good value for their money.

Eric B said...

What bothers me about this list is that there is one teacher at about #60, then there isn't another teacher until #323. While that's not exactly a surprise with the number of principals and vice principals and senior admin, it's still a little depressing.

Anonymous said...


Given the comparative ease of accessing that information then vs now, I'm not sure that's a valid comparison. I doubt you would have been fine with a billboard over I-5 with your husband's name and salary in bold lettering.

We draw lines all the time while maintaining public accountability. If I'm paying for a child's public school education, why shouldn't I have access to their unmasked test scores?

It's your blog, your billboard.


Melissa Westbrook said...

No one put up a billboard which is a very different thing than a link at a blog.

You should have access to your own child's unmasked test scores and I've said that here.

Thank you, Michael. I should have noted that a recent article in the Times said that the most basic income for Seattle is now about $75K. Meaning, just getting by and not saving or going out.

Lynn said...

I don't understand the concern here. Are teachers supposed to be ashamed of how much they are paid? If teacher salaries are shamefully low, it is the voters and politicians of this state who are to blame.

You wouldn't be able to handle Norway's transparency policy.

Anonymous said...

I wish everyone's salary was published. Then it would be apparent differences in salary between men and women, etc.


Anonymous said...

Transparency is absolutely critical for all public institutions. We the people deserve access to information about the use of public funds.

Without transparency there is no accountability. Transparency also allows for open communication and trust.

Specifically in regards to SPS, I wish the District office would see the long term advantages of embracing and engaging with the public and acknowledge that transparency is part of their duty, obligation and responsibility.


Grouchy Parent said...

Fascinating that anyone has a problem with this list. It's been around and available online for a good 20 years at least. I look people up most years. Of course I used to work in the payroll office, so I suppose I'm interested in that stuff. But once you look into this kind of thing (as with pretty much any company's payroll), you pretty quickly see that some people earn more than you think they should and some don't earn anywhere near as much as you think they should. My child's absolute worst teacher, the one that was almost criminally bad, earned almost $90k a year. Definitely too much for what tax payer were getting from that individual (who's sadly still teaching). My child's absolute best teacher was also making almost $90k a year. No justice in that.

That said, you can search for marriage/divorce/name change records, how much someone paid for a house, run-ins with the law, etc. You can learn some fascinating stuff from public records. And based on my junk mail, companies sure look up how much I paid for my house often enough. No reason citizens should have less right to look that stuff up than predatory lending companies.

Anonymous said...

The Kitsap Sun has an easier to use database with 2016-17 numbers:



Anonymous said...

Agree with Grouchy - I am a state employee and my salary is freely available with a quick google for the entire 27 years I have worked at a state institution. I don't understand where the above posters have been for the last few decades. Down a rabbit hole I guess.

I think what is important is HOW LITTLE our fantastic teachers make and HOW MUCH our incompetent Superintendents make. And when the sups come up with their poorly thought out, unsupported plans for SPED, AL administration, MTSS - who is under the onus to implement them? Teachers. And they are expected to do this on salaries that, for many, are uncomfortably close to the poverty line in Seattle.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, that was kind of the point of the post. How much the people at the top make.

Anonymous said...

It's embarrassing for me as a state employee to have my salary posted or easily accessible through this link. People just snoop around and are voyeuristic, "oh, let's see what she/he makes." I am sorry Michael felt compelled to post, but he probably figured you would look it up anyway. Next you'll look up the cost of people's homes on Zillow. Oh well, so much for common decency and kindness. Not a lot of that around right now.
- Blind Mice

Anonymous said...

My issue as someone on those lists is that our public disclosure pieces have not caught up to the realities of identity theft. I had to email the Kitsap sun a couple of years ago to request that they pull my DOB from their site. I hate having my info out there to the extent that it is (is my age really important?), and having so much of it specifically tied to names is frustrating when a lot of it is basic info that is asked to confirm identity for any number of financial institutions.