Saturday, December 22, 2012

Do The Math

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said yesterday that there should be an armed police officer at every school in the country.  Aside from the fact that there have been incidents where there were already people with guns protecting a facility and still a shooter got in and did his carnage — Fort Hood, for example — let’s indulge Mr. LaPierre in his masturbatory Rambo fantasy and put one well-trained armed guard at every school in the country.  How will he pay for it?  The cost would be out of the reach of most school districts, and even if Congress decided to pay for every one of them via a federal grant, it would be a budget buster.

Let’s just take a look at one school district.  How about one I know pretty well, such as Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  It is the fourth-largest district in the country, with over 347,000 students.  It has 354 schools or facilities with students, so we’ll need one guard per school.  Let’s say that the base average salary of a guard is $75,000.  I know that seems a little high for a cop, but we’re talking average salary, not starting.

But you just don’t pay for the base salary and you’re done.  There are other costs, such as paying into their retirement account, Social Security and Medicare contributions which the District has to pick up a portion of, contribution to health insurance, and the required payment of workers compensation, liability, and unemployment insurance, all required under contract or state or federal law.  So let’s do the numbers:

  • Salary: $75,000.00
  • Retirement – 5.26%: $3,945.00
  • Social Security – 6.20%: $4,650.00
  • Medicare – 1.45%: $1,088.00
  • Health Insurance – $8,732.00 (lump sum per full-time employee)
  • Workers Comp, etc. – 2.70%: $2,025.00
  • TOTAL: $95,440.00

That’s per school, per year, and it does not include overtime or shift differential if they work nights.  Even without that factored in, it would come to a total of $33,785,583.00 for the entire district.  Plus you need to add the indirect cost allowance which is included in every federal grant.  The current rate is 3.77%, which amounts to $1,237,716, which brings it to a grand total of $35,059,299.00

Too much?  Okay, let’s say that they will only pay $75,000 per guard, including the fringes.  That brings the salary down to $57,320.00, but it is still going to cost $27,550,808.00 when you figure in the fringes and indirect.

What if we hired private security firms to do all the work and avoid paying all that stuff like retirement and health insurance?  After all, those are just entitlements, right?  Okay, but a private firm is going to add those costs into the contract, plus this being America and all, there’s going to be a profit written into the contract, and even if it’s a tiny little margin like 3%, it’s still going to cost the same if not more than if they were school employees.

This does not include the cost of the additional insurance that the schools will need to pay for having someone walking around carrying a gun.  That’s something you’ll need to take up with Risk Management, but my guess is that it will add about 5% to the budget.

That’s for one school district, albeit a big one.  But let’s extrapolate that out to every district in the country, and lets round the number of schools to 100,000.  We’re now into the $10 billion range.  That’s billion with a B.  And that does not include private schools, which will also need the guards and who aren’t all St. Grottlesex with huge endowments of money to pay for them.

For what it’s worth, there was an armed guard at Columbine, Virginia Tech has a police force as do most colleges and universities, and Fort Hood is an Army base.  Miami-Dade County Public Schools has a police force as well; they are fully-sworn police officers, the same as the cops on the job in the state of Florida.  Despite their best efforts, we have had tragedies at our schools.  So aside from the absolute asshattery of the idea, I kind of doubt that too many Republicans, no matter their standing with the NRA, are willing to whoop through billions of dollars for something that probably wouldn’t work in the first place.

(By the way, this is the kind of thing I do all day at work, and I’m supposed to be on vacation.)

8 barks and woofs on “Do The Math

  1. We have created a monster with all the guns in America, and every day we pay the price. I understand hunting, I grew up in the Dakotas and everyone hunted and rarely was a human being shot. I do not understand someone getting angry and blowing random strangers away. I am not sure what the answer is, but it is not more guns. I am sure of that. Republicans say they are pro-life, but they support the gun industry. Does this make sense? Sadly, no. We must all work together to solve this problem.

  2. We’re on the same page. When I heard this idiot yesterday, I started doing cost estimates and who is going to pay for this. For sure Republicans won’t pay for this and if they did, they would be first in line with their hands out. This is sheer folly to think that an organization dedicated to enlightenment might buy into this craziness. Get to the heart of the matter, it’s crazy people with access to machine guns.

  3. But you know, the NRA will “facilitate” this futility. And in the meantime, they will have facilitated the purchase of weaponry to endanger the teachers and kids in the 100,000 plus classrooms. It’s all in the money – from either end, the payer and the payee and the stock price.

  4. “I kind of doubt that too many Republicans . . . are willing to whoop through billions of dollars for something that probably wouldn’t work in the first place.”

    Why not? They (and Democrats) vote billions of $ for things that don’t work all the time, as long as it’s for the Defense Department.

  5. It’s just anything to deflect. Why is it not laughable on its face that the solution to the gun violence problem is more guns?

    As I noted before, it reminds me of the anti-virus software makers who create viruses then magically have the only tool that can clean it. Slimey.

  6. Bobby and Mike in Texas, you are not thinking. Retirement accounts, social security, health insurance? Are you nuts??? You hire through a temp agency or make each employee a contractor and then you don’t have to fool with that socialist rigamarole. Don’t you remember the Reagan years?

    BTW, you are also failing to understand how the minimum wage and refusal to raise it will stave off inflation and keep the economy sound. Don’t you guys read?


  7. Your estimate is low as you forgot to include the cost of equipping these officers, and not just weapons, because the communications will be more expensive. I had a budget in law enforcement, and you provided my biggest expense, but, even without vehicles, the uniforms, belts, holsters, radios, batteries, etc. are all absurdly expensive. Then there is the question of using a shared frequency, or applying for a different frequency for the radios.

    My little town up on the Panhandle contracts with the Sheriff for police services and it costs us $100K+ for a single deputy for 40 hours/week.

  8. Your point is well taken, Bryan. Most federal direct grants, however, require a match from the district, usually at least 25%. So the district would therefore be responsible for the equipment, vehicles, and radios, which, as you note, could run the cost up to $100,000 per employee. I was just quoting the bare minimum for the federal ask from the district.

Comments are closed.