Education Funding News in Brief

Tax Break Covers Costco and Cokes

By Andrew Ujifusa — February 13, 2018 2 min read

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.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 14, 2018 edition of Education Week as Tax Break Covers Costco and Cokes


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Schools Can Help Families Apply for Federal Help in Paying for Home Internet Access
Families who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program can get $50 off their monthly broadband bills.
2 min read
Image of a child's hand on a keyboard.
Education Funding Miguel Cardona's First Budget Hearing Becomes Forum on In-Person Learning, 1619 Project
In his first public testimony to Congress as education secretary, Cardona also touched on standardized testing and student discipline.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, right, talks to 12th grade art student Madri Mazo at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, left, talks to 12th grade art student Eugene Coleman at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. in April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images