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Another set of numbers

Sidebar by Martha Quillen

Salida School Mill Levy Election – November 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

One of the arguments against the mill levy override is that Salidans can’t afford to raise District salaries. Here’s the gist of it — and the numbers.

According to the Salida Comprehensive Plan 2000 the average per capita personal income in Chaffee County in 1997 was $16,082, and the average income for a two person household was $34,400. According to the Colorado Department of Education the average teacher salary in Salida was $34,507 in 2000. That would mean that the average teacher in Salida already makes what it often takes two Chaffee County residents to make.

And to make matters worse, Salida’s average income tends to lag behind the county’s average income by about 7% — probably because Salida doesn’t have a prison, a college, or very many industrial jobs, but it does have a larger service economy than its neighbors.

As things are, Salida’s teachers and administrators already make far more than many (or perhaps most) of the managers, merchants and business owners in District R-32-J who will have to pay for their raises — because wages aren’t high in Salida, and business tends to be seasonal.

In Salida, even college-educated professionals generally earn far less than they would elsewhere — and that seems to be the price of living in a resort community. But despite low wages, people keep moving here.

In the argument against this one, many of these numbers are contested.