News in Brief

Tax Break Covers Costco and Cokes

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

In a push to promote the new federal tax code's benefits, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., highlighted how a public high school secretary in Pennsylvania is now taking home an extra $1.50 per week. That sum will "more than cover" the "pleasantly surprised" secretary's annual membership fee at Costco, he tweeted out Feb. 3. But Ryan deleted it later after getting a lot of pushback on social media.

The Associated Press story cited by Ryan quoted Julie Ketchum, a secretary at Hempfield High in the Hempfield district. Ketchum said she was amused that Ryan highlighted her as an example of how the tax code would help workers. She isn't listed on a website listing Hempfield personnel and their salaries.

Nonetheless, we got to thinking: How much do school secretaries typically make, and what would a salary increase of $1.50 a week mean for them?

The average school secretary's base pay is $34,450, according to Glassdoor, a job and employer-review site.

However, Payscale, an employment research firm, recently reported that the median salary for school secretaries is $28,567, based on a survey of 1,030 secretaries. And SimplyHired, which helps employees and employers calculate compensation, reported an average salary of $31,568.

These sorts of stats should be taken with a grain of salt, in part because they are based on online submissions. For example, Glassdoor separately lists the average base pay of elementary school secretaries at $46,010 a year, based on more than 7,500 salary figures submitted to Glassdoor. The website doesn't cite a reason for the discrepancy between elementary school secretaries and the more general figure.

It's worth noting that the mean average wage for secretaries and administrative assistants for various employers in Pennsylvania was $34,930 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ketchum said the extra salary means $78 more a year for her, although that's based on getting $1.50 more over 52 weeks, and many school employees do not get paid during the summer break. That salary bump does indeed cover an individual's annual Costco "Gold Star" membership of $60, plus $18, enough for 12 hot dogs and 12 sodas at Costco.

Ultimately, $78 per year extra represents a pay increase of about 0.23 percent for the average school secretary. That's if we take Glassdoor's annual average base pay of $34,450 for secretaries, which is close to the mean average wage figures from BLS cited earlier.

Vol. 37, Issue 20, Page 5

Published in Print: February 14, 2018, as Tax Break Covers Costco and Cokes
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >