EDUCATION
10/25/2012 12:02 pm ET

National Education Association Saw Budget Deficits In 15 State Affiliates In 2010-11 School Year

Fifteen National Education Association state affiliates experienced budget deficits in the 2010-11 school year while 25 saw a decline in dues income, according to an Education Intelligence Agency analysis of Internal Revenue Service filings.

The union and the American Federation of Teachers represent the country's two largest teachers' unions. The NEA lost 2 percent of its active membership during that time, but was able to limit revenue losses to 0.3 percent — about $3.7 million — by increasing dues.

EIA has posted a table on its website that lists the financial figures for NEA and its 50 state affiliates, as well as the Federal Education Association — which represents NEA teachers overseas and on military bases — the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and the Utah School Employees Association.

The numbers include each union’s dues revenues, revenues from sources outside state dues — such as advertising from union publications and grants — and employee compensation, which consists of salaries, benefits and funds set aside for pensions and post-retirement health care.

According to EIA, 20 affiliates were able to cut spending on staff compensation thanks to a 111-person reduction. But total spending on compensation still increased 1.2 percent from 2009-10. The Michigan Education Association and the Oklahoma Education Association did not, however, collect enough dues revenue to cover the costs of their employees’ and retirees’ pay and benefits.

Total dues income for NEA and its state affiliates still exceeded $1.4 billion for the year, despite the fact that 15 affiliates — Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, UHPA and USEA — spent more than they collected from all sources.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers spent a combined $330 million in the past five years on outside causes, political campaigns, lobbying and issue education. Members’ dues underwrite much of the unions’ political activities, but donations to candidates, parties and PACs are funded by voluntary contributions.

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