Average is over, NYC private school edition

Compensation for the heads of some elite private K-12 schools in New York City is nearing $1 million.

Much in the city’s private school world can seem beyond the norm: the tuition and fees (topping $50,000 a year), the kindergarten application process (interviews for 4-year-olds), the facilities (climbing walls). And so too executive compensation that exceeds the pay of many college presidents.

Pay packages often include deferred compensation and perks like housing, housekeeping, social club dues and free tuition for heads’ children. Chiefs of New York City schools earn far more than the national average, due to the high cost of living, ambitious fundraising duties, competition for talent, relatively large enrollments and other factors, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.

The median base salary for heads of the city’s private schools is $493,478 this academic year among 44 city schools in a survey by the association. That compares to $275,000 nationwide. The group says the city’s pay for heads grew faster as well: Its median salary jumped 70% in a decade, compared with 45% nationwide.

At least nine heads of private K-12 schools in New York City earned total yearly packages topping $800,000, according to 2015 federal tax forms, the most recent year available.

Here is the WSJ piece, via the excellent Samir Varma.

Comments

Much in the city’s private school world can seem beyond the norm: the tuition and fees (topping $50,000 a year), the kindergarten application process (interviews for 4-year-olds), the facilities (climbing walls).

It is amazing what people who support unlimited illegal immigration will pay to keep their children away from those of illegal immigrants.

It is often argued that things like Gated Communities are bad because they alienate the inhabitants from engagement with their civic communities. Why vote for better water systems when the beneficiaries live in poor neighborhoods. Likewise, I am sure all the inhabitants of New York will join me in agreeing these schools ought to be abolished and everyone's child should go to a randomly selected public school.

If you're going to talk the talk, you should walk the walk.

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This has very little to do with illegal immigrants. If there's a group they're looking to avoid, it's poor people, especially non-immigrant poor people. Immigrants in NYC are often among the highest achievers. The most elite, selective public school, Stuyvesant, is an astonishing 72.5% Asian.

As much as you want to cast this as some sort of cultural battle, sending your kid to one of these schools is really about on-ramping them to the Ivy League and trying to induct them into "the 1%", who reap an increasing percentage of American society's spoils. The willingness to pay 50k/yr for private school reflects this reality, not a snobbish anti-immigrant mindset. Believe it or not, it's not contradictory to both support immigration, and want to pull every lever possible to give your kids an advantage in life.

These preschoolers don't take the "highest-achieving" four-year-olds, they take the children of the very rich, few of whom are going to be immigrant tiger moms who send their kids to Stuyvesant. But it is true that this concerns the 1% question, and it's just another reason why I support much higher taxes on them as a right-wing populist.

+1

A few weeks ago I was arguing with some libertarians about the tax plan; I said that I oppose tax cuts for the wealthy for the same reason that I oppose welfare for drug-addicts, I don't think they will do anything good or useful with the money. This is a great example.

You don't see the difference of depriving group A of your money and group B of theirs?

>This has very little to do with illegal immigrants. If there’s a group they’re looking to avoid, it’s poor people, especially non-immigrant poor people. Immigrants in NYC are often among the highest achievers.

Are you playing word games or do you believe that >illegal< immigrants are among the highest achievers in New York?

>This has very little to do with illegal immigrants.

>Immigrants in NYC are often among the highest achievers.

Nice bait and switch from "illegal immigrant" to "immigrant." Illegal immigrants are NOT among the highest achievers, and Spence School parents pay a lot of money to not be around them (among other people).

>it’s not contradictory to both support illegal immigration, and want to...

.... have your kids schooled as far away from those illegal immigrants as possible?

Yes, we know, John. This was what SMFS was saying.

It's great to know that you and he (and Tyler!) and are in complete agreement!

Pay packages often include deferred compensation and perks like housing, housekeeping, social club dues and free tuition for heads’ children.

Social club dues? Free tuition? You mean that even the Heads of very expensive private schools are now lower middle class (perhaps lower middle middle or upper lower middle?) and yet for some reason the parents want to pretend the people in charge of their children are of a similar class background as themselves so they are willing to pay a fortune to make sure they behave as such?

This is bizarre.

"You mean that even the Heads of very expensive private schools are now lower middle class (perhaps lower middle middle or upper lower middle?)"
Yeah, that is what US$ 1 million means. I

You miss the point. They are not giving it as cash. Some very small number of schools are giving in part as cash and in part as signals of social status that for some reason Heads need to make. Obviously they cannot be trusted to spend their own money on social club memberships so that has to be compulsory.

Why? Why not give them the cash? The value of that social club is likely to be less to the Head than it costs.

"Why? Why not give them the cash?"
Because they favor giving it that way.
"At least nine heads of private K-12 schools in New York City earned total yearly packages topping $800,000, according to 2015 federal tax forms, the most recent year available."
Do you think it is all social club fees and sunlight?

>Why? Why not give them the cash?

Scientific consensus supposedly is that you can't increase employee morale by increasing pay once you get in the six digits. So companies go for other perks. Are googlebooksoft engineers "lower middle class (perhaps lower middle middle or upper lower middle?)" because they get free catering and can live on company campuses?

Additionally, free tuition seems similar to being paid in shares, it is a bonus that is worth more if you perform well.

Could there also be tax reasons?

Expensive head job.

"perks like housing, housekeeping, social club dues and free tuition for heads’ children."

This means they don't work 8-9 hours a day but 24/7. Any given day at the club they still have to act and think like a school principal, , pay attention to any comment from parents, etc. It seems just, more work hours per week, higher salary. This position can appeal to extremely social people.

What is it about the climbing walls that they always feature in any story about plush schools? Why are they always singled out as a sign of opulence?

When I was young, we didn't have climbing walls, but we survived anyway.

We had trees.

Same. And we had to climb them on the way to school, and both ways were up.

the US have lost their mind

Someone will be along in a minute to explain that NYC isn't the US.

Michael Kinsley (after a two year stint living in New York) had this to say: "even quite affluent people don't own a car and even people of very humble means don't do their own laundry").

It no longer surprises me what decadence the religion of credentialism and "success" produces.

I'm not a Dylan fan, but him singing "A Hard Rain Gonna Fall" is the song of our day.

https://youtu.be/T5al0HmR4to

Wait til the religion of political correctness hits, harder I mean. We’ll pine for the religion of credentials.

I don't understand why they don't open more of these elite private schools. The demand for seats exceeds the supply, they must be very profitable and there is unlimited money in NYC. So many kids of the elite get left out in the cold. Just open more of these elite schools - how hard is it?

I wonder the same thing. Market failure? Perhaps the fact that most of these schools are non-profits is a factor.

Granted, the richest will only pay to send their kids to the established top schools. The analogy is Ivies/Stanford. But there's plenty of 2nd tier private colleges charging just as much. Why don't a bunch of private K-12 schools open to take on the demand? Maybe the price will be lower but still very adequate there.

In any case, smaller and smaller classes are probably the future, maybe down to personal tutors for groups of 3-4 kids. As the robots take the other jobs, teaching children will be one of the last non-automatable jobs.

1. Anyone care to think about the quality of NYC High Schools in Manhattan affecting choice?
2. More private schools: good luck with that given the cost of NYC real estate in decent locations.

Actually since I'm proposing 2nd tier schools to handle the overflow demand, build some in Brooklyn too.

>I don’t understand why they don’t open more of these elite private schools.

Very simple -- it's the same reason Harvard doesn't admit more students.

All these people are selling is EXCLUSIVITY.

You cannot sell ADDITIONAL exclusivity.

But while Harvard doesn't admit more students, plenty of other private unis are available. I'm just wondering why there aren't more schools selling exclusivity to the people who can't get into the top tier but still want something private and expensive to keep out the riffraff.

They have them. Lots of them. Why there aren't more, I guess market equilibrium. But an ordinary, not super exclusive or prestigious private school isn't worth as much and competes with public schools in expensive zip codes. There s only so many spots at Harvard, if you're going to Rutgers NYU you probably don't need a school with a million dollar principal. (Not that NYU is bad, or the easiest school to get into, it's just not one that requires going to such extreme lengths as Harvard or Columbia)

It should be a matter of law that compensation for executives in the philanthropic sector should not exceed a value determined by formulae specified in statutes. For the general run of philanthropies, the formula might be as follows:

[(e/7) ^ (0.22)] x 2 x c.

For licensed physicians in charge of hospitals, polyclinics, and medical research institutes, the formula might be

{[(e/7) ^ (0.22)] x 2 x c} + p

Superordinates of hospital directors (e.g. the president of universities which include a hospital) would be compensated according to the first formula unless they were licensed physicians.

e = # of employees working under the executive in question (FTE)
c = mean compensation per worker in the economy as a whole
p = mean annual compensation for a physician in the economy as a whole.

Here's a blast from a more rational past:

"The Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C. had obtained tax-exempt status in 1956 on the claim that it was "a corporation organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, no part of the earnings of which inures to any individual". That status was revoked in 1958, on the grounds (as argued by the U.S. Department of Justice in subsequent proceedings) that the Church's "most extensive and significant activities are directed towards the earnings of substantial fees" and "the founder of the organisation L. Ron Hubbard remains in complete control and receives substantial remuneration and perquisites both from the taxpayer and a network of affiliates".[21] The findings of fact in the case included that Hubbard had personally received over $108,000 ($600,000 in 2012 value) from the Church and affiliates over a four-year period, over and above the percentage of gross income (usually 10%) he received from Church-affiliated organizations. In addition, the Church had paid for Hubbard's car and for his personal residence, Mary Sue Hubbard had made over $10,000 renting property to the Church, and while the $3,242 paid to Hubbard's daughter Kay had been "generally designated as salary or wages", "the record is devoid of any evidence showing services performed by Miss Hubbard for [the Church]." The Court of Claims concluded "What emerges from these facts is the inference that the Hubbard family was entitled to make ready personal use of the corporate earnings.""

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_as_a_bus

And the schools make very little difference but my presumption is the parents know that and signaling wealth and status by sending their children there.

How do you know they "make very little difference"?

If they are not using taxpayer money, why should I care?

They have them. Lots of them. Why there aren't more, I guess market equilibrium. But an ordinary, not super exclusive or prestigious private school isn't worth as much and competes with public schools in expensive zip codes. There s only so many spots at Harvard, if you're going to Rutgers NYU you probably don't need a school with a million dollar principal. (Not that NYU is bad, or the easiest school to get into, it's just not one that requires going to such extreme lengths as Harvard or Columbia)

Curiosity. Analysing social trends. Determining how or if it affects your own kids.

But certainly there's no reason to care to try to stop it or anything like that. To the parents paying for these schools caveat emptor.

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