An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of Internal Revenue Service filings by the National Education Association and its state affiliates reveal the union amassed more than $1.5 billion in revenue in 2008-09, more than 90 percent of it in the form of dues from public education employees.

EIA created a table, now posted on its web site, that lists the financial figures for NEA and each of its 53 “state” affiliates (50 states plus the directly affiliated 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 total revenues, dues income and the amount devoted to employee compensation.

The statistics do not include the income of any of the union’s 14,000 locals, whose totals would range from the significant (for example, the $3 million annual revenue of the San Diego Education Association) to the nonexistent, in the case of small affiliates that collect no local dues.

NEA and its affiliates are all tax-exempt organizations. If they were defined as a charity, they would rank no worse than 13th in the nation – well ahead of the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Nature Conservancy. Their one-year income exceeds the entire endowments of all but 43 charitable grant-making foundations, including the Broad Foundation and the Heinz Endowments (and close to the Annenberg Foundation).

The figures show that only a handful of affiliates felt the early effects of the recession. NEA national saw a 2.7 percent increase from the previous year, and some affiliates had double-digit increases in revenue. However, there were signs of financial troubles ahead.

The California Teachers Association and others saw significant declines in revenue, almost entirely due to poor investment returns. In the case of CTA, dues income actually exceeded “total” revenue because of investment losses.

Increased liabilities for employee compensation caused additional worries. The numbers in the table include not only salaries and benefits for current teacher union staff, but set-asides for their pensions and post-retirement health care. In most cases, the growth in the amount devoted to these purposes greatly exceeded the increases in income.

It would be ironic if the union’s own labor costs forced it to make dramatic budget reductions or dues hikes. NEA and its state affiliates combined currently spend more than $820 million on some 7,000 employees (the number of retirees is unknown). In five states (Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Oregon and Washington) dues income failed to cover the costs of employee compensation.

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