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NJ Education Watch Opinion: More Information Buried Deep in the NJEA's 990....

 

No surprise the unions execs are doing very well at the expense of the teachers who are paying their dues.

When New Jersey Education Watch launched a month ago – we promised to stay focused on facts, not politics.  We have heard from many teachers who agree it's time that factual, undeniable information needs to be more readily made available for all to see...and one of the most fundamental and consistent requests that New Jersey Education Watch has received from teachers since we launched in September has been....  

How does the NJEA statewide leadership spend the dues of union members?

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Last week New Jersey Education Watch began to answer this question by look at the NJEA’s 2017 990...As detailed in our last email, by law, the NJEA statewide office files a public tax form called a 990 each year.  This document itemizes how the statewide union leadership spends member dues.   While it took time and was much more difficult than it should be, we found the NJEA's 2017 990.  

The response from New Jersey teachers from our last email detailing the spending habits of the NJEA statewide leadership has ranged from anger to frustration - with many teachers replying and asking - what can be done to get control of the union boss' spending habits?

That is an answer only the NJEA can address....but New Jersey Education Watch will continue to focus on providing the state with needed and requested information. As you may remember our last email focused specifically on the spending choices of the NJEA statewide leadership.  Specific facts included that the NJEA leadership increased member dues once again, this time for a record $125.1 million in 2017. 

In addition, we found out that that is an average pay of the NJEA statewide leadership is $482,500, or almost seven times the average New Jersey teachers’ pay.....But buried deep in NJEA’s 2017 990s, we also found something even worse...factual information on the current viability of the organization as a whole.

FACT #1 - At the same time union dues have increased, income from other NJEA revenue streams have fallen. This means that the NJEA’s statewide leadership has reached deeper and deeper into members’ pockets to pay for their ridiculously high salaries and spending increases. If you can believe it, the facts actually gets even worse than that….

FACT #2 -In 2017, NJEA’s expenses exceeded its revenues for the first time on record.   Please stop and read the sentence above one more time, it's a big deal

FACT #3 - The NJEA spent $849,058 more than it brought in last year.   As recently as 2013, NJEA’s balance sheet showed $12.0 million more in assets than liabilities -- but as of 2017, the union’s liabilities exceed its assets by a staggering $42.4 million.    

These three facts are a very big deal -  and based on the facts, the NJEA statewide leadership seems more interested in saving their high salaries at any cost, even if it means increasing dues and risking the long term viability of the organization.   

 New Jersey Education Watch will remain focused on ensuring all our public-school teachers are fully supported and that they are empowered with facts to make the most informed decisions regarding their union.     According to the NJEA’s own tax documents, the facts are there.   They are undeniable. And it is time New Jersey makes the current statewide leadership of the NJEA accountable.   It is our choice.  

Learn more about what you can do at NJEducationWatch.com.

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...and for those who might have missed our first email on the NJEA's 2017 990 or would like to have all this information in one place, please see below....the following was sent last week....
Since New Jersey Education Watch’s recent launch, we have been inundated with stories, questions, and concerns from New Jersey teachers regarding the statewide leadership of the NJEA. One demand has clearly come through —teachers throughout New Jersey want a better understanding of how they benefit from their dues – is the money being well spent. So, let’s get to the facts…

By law, the NJEA files a public tax form called a 990 each year, itemizing how union leadership spends member dues.  It took some time and digging, but we got our hands on the latest 2017 document – and what it shows is wasteful spending you would never believe.

DID YOU KNOW – The NJEA’s President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer were compensated a total of $1.44 million in 2017? For those who do not have their calculators on them – that is an average of $482,500, or almost seven times the average New Jersey teachers’ pay.

DID YOU KNOW – NJEA’s President, Wendell Steinhauer, received a pay bump of $45,466 in 2017? And that NJEA’s Secretary-Treasurer, Sean Spiller, received a pay bump of $40,524 in 2017? Did you receive a $40,000 raise this year?

DID YOU KNOW – NJEA’s leadership was also rewarded with $1.2 million in deferred compensation in 2017 — more than in any other year? For those who do not know what deferred compensation is, and to be honest we needed to look it up ourselves, this is an arrangement in which a portion of an employee’s income is paid out at a later date after which the income was earned. The primary benefit of most deferred compensation is the deferral of taxes.

If you are curious, NJEA’s Business Development Director, Timothy McGuckin, led the pack with $634,251 in deferred pay!  Executive Director Edward Richardson came in second with $335,106 in deferred pay! 

DID YOU KNOW – The NJEA statewide leadership more than doubled its spending on lobbying and public relations in 2017 compared to the previous year?

DID YOU KNOW – The NJEA Leadership increased member dues once again, this time for a record $125.1 million in 2017.

Enough is really enough.  

Classrooms are struggling to find the dollars to modernize.  Teachers are needing to work extra jobs just to make ends meet.It is time New Jersey demands change.  This has gone on too long. The NJEA statewide leadership needs accountability. It is time to come together and demand that the collective voice of New Jersey’s teachers, electeds, and parents are heard. And if they do not listen, if they do not answer, teacher’s can even utilize the new Supreme Court ruling allowing New Jersey teachers to keep their money.It is up to us.  New Jersey does not need to stand for this anymore. Learn more about what you can do at NJEducationWatch.com.

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