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Civic Skinny

August 23, 2012
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Teacher pay, council tweets and some real-estate deals

The state’s Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation is pondering increasing the minimum starting salary for Iowa teachers to $35,000 from $28,000. How much does the average teacher make now, you ask?

Here’s the answer:

There are 2,263 full-time teachers in the Des Moines school district, and the average total salary in the 2011-12 school year was $53,282. The range was from $31,447 to $80,950. The average salary for beginning teachers was $39,404.

From a salary standpoint, the best place to teach in the Des Moines area — indeed, in the entire state — is Ames, where there are 292 full-time teachers and the average total pay last year was $62,560. Surprisingly, Indianola ranked second among the 348 school districts in the state, with an average total pay of $59,951 for that district’s 211 teachers. But all those numbers include pay for extra duties. If you look just at base pay for teaching, the best place to teach last year was Iowa City, with an average of $61,479. Indianola was second, Roland-Story third. Southeast Polk was eighth and West Des Moines ninth.

The single highest salary for any teacher last year was the $105,700 paid by the West Des Moines school district — more than three times the $31,892 earned by the lowest-paid teacher there, according to a Department of Education database.

Last year, there were 33,529 full-time teachers in the state’s public schools, and the average pay was $51,657. The minimum was $28,000, and the top was that $105,700 paid in West Des Moines. The district that hangs on to its teachers the longest is Ventura, where the 22 teachers have been in the district an average of 22.2 years. In Des Moines, the average is 13.6 years.

These figures all are for teaching 36 weeks. There are 52 weeks in a year. ...

Yet something else that Skinny never knew:

“The two [collegians Tom Vilsack and Christie Bell] began dating. They hit ‘a rocky spot,’ as he describes it, because he was still pining for a high school girlfriend named Mary Beth from Pittsburgh. But eventually Tom Vilsack picked the Iowa girl,” Bret Hayworth reported in a long and interesting profile of Christie Vilsack in the Sioux City Journal the other day.

“The former girlfriend was the sister of Karen Santorum, wife of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

“ ‘If I hadn’t made the right decision on this, I could have been Rick Santorum’s brother-in-law,’ Tom Vilsack said. ‘As it turned out, I went back on bended knee and asked for a second chance with Christie.’ ” ...

A guy who felt flooded by The Des Moines Register’s massive coverage of the recent openings of a Whole Food store and then a new Hy-Vee store says that if there was a Pulitzer Prize for covering grocery-store openings, the Register would surely win it. ...

Halley Griess is a Des Moines councilman. Occasionally, he tweets during meetings. Last week:

“Hey tweeps, follow @joshhafner for snarky City Council play by play tonight, color commentary by Bill Stowe’s flowing locks.”

“Councilman Coleman plays coy on his knowledge of hookah bars.”

“Apparently sidewalk cafe leases don’t interest the next generation, young boy passed out in the front row”

“BREAKING NEWS: Young boy in front row remains asleep through baseball related item, others beginning to dose.”

“BREAKING NEWS: Bill Stowe to maintain Superhero status despite citizen plea to amend to Rockstar status.”

“Coffee mug falls over, creates no small disturbance during council meeting. Young boy continues to snooze.”

“Sleeping boy’s mother speaks. Boy remains asleep.” ...

And a recent tweet from Sen. Chuck Grassley: “My local steak house serves nothing but vegetarian bc cows are vegetarian.” One reply: “Um. What.” ...

Here comes Southwest: Posted air fares out of Des Moines dropped dramatically over the weekend. All major airlines, for instance, now are offering Des Moines-New York round trips for around $250, Des Moines-Washington trips for around $220, and Des Moines-Los Angeles for around $260. That’s about $100 less than the quoted prices early in the week. But Des Moines-to-Chicago flights are still around $350. ...

Some real-estate developments: Dave Mulcahy, who bought a choice six acres or so in Glen Oaks for $380,000 in 2004, sold the parcel last month for $1,500,000 to something called Hillside Development Inc., which was newly incorporated and registered with the Secretary of State in June. Maureen Warford, a notary in Adel, is the registered agent.

A house in Glen Oaks — at 1857 Glen Oaks Drive — sold for $750,000 last month. Tom Bernau was the seller, Tom Powers the buyer. The house is a nine-year-old, 3,860-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom home on .6 acre. In Des Moines, Patrick Traynor paid $849,000 for a 103-year-old, 4,735-square-foot, 13-room stucco home on more than an acre at 219 37th St., south of Grand Avenue. The house, which was owned by John D. Paszek, was assessed at $767,900. It has six bedrooms and two fireplaces. Paszek bought the house from Rod Kruse two years ago for $839,000.

And not far away, at 120 35th St., Darca Boom and Dennis Klein paid $505,000 for the 57-year-old, 2,618-square-foot home owned by Tom Slaughter. Slaughter bought the house from Mary Riche in 2001 for $299,000. It’s assessed at $362,200. Finally, Steven and Jeanne Low paid $513,550 for one of those lots just north of Wakonda Club on Park Avenue; the price presumably includes a townhouse being built by the developer at an estimated cost of $456,161, according to city records. ...

“You didn’t mention husband and father, which makes me curious.” — Nancy Sebring. CV

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