Re "Teachers wanted -- elsewhere," May 10
It's unfortunate that good teachers are leaving California. What's also unfortunate is the state's refusal to admit what a drain on school budgets the cost of educating illegal immigrants has been.
In the Southern California school I work for, we stand to have $40,000 allotted for our general fund in the 2008-2009 school year. Contrast that with the budget for the English learners program -- about $90,000.
Until the root problem is addressed, California's schools will continue their downward slide. There simply isn't enough money left to cover costs.
It seems to me that if I had a chance to be a California teacher, I wouldn't even consider employment in another state. Although $44,500 is slightly higher than the starting salary for a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, the salary is only a fraction of the California teacher's total compensation package. California teachers pay a pittance for excellent health, dental and long-term disability insurance. They receive automatic raises even in a recession and regardless of their performance. In addition, the California teacher's pension benefits dwarf those of the few companies in private industry that still offer pensions.
All this, and on average they work only 185 days a year.