Photo courtesy of the Seattle Times

As Dropout Nation reported yesterday, the American Federation of Teachers spent 21 percent less in 2011-2012 on efforts to defend traditionalist thinking than in the previous year. But there is more to the nation’s other primary teachers’ union’s fiscal activities than just lobbying and political activity.

The nation’s second-largest teachers’ union reported that it generated $326 million in 2011-2012, a 54 percent increase over the previous year. But that number is deceptive: The increase was largely driven by an $88.4 million borrowing from its line of credit, most of which was paid off by the time the AFT filed its LM-2 with the U.S. Department of Labor. Excluding that draw-down from its credit line, the union’s revenue only increased by 12 percent (to $238 million), with the loss of members in Wisconsin driven by Gov. Scott Walker’s successful abolition of forced dues collections (and collective bargaining), along with the few teacher layoffs that happened throughout the nation, likely weighing down sightly on its income stream. AFT did manage to bring down its overhead costs slightly, from $34 million in 2010-2011 to $33 million in 2011-2012, the union didn’t exactly cut the number of staffers making six-figure sums. In fact, 196 staffers draw incomes of $100,000 or more in 2011-2012, three more than in the previous fiscal year.

On the lobbying and politicking front: The AFT continued its longstanding effort to co-opt black and Latino community groups by spending $96,000 with Clergy Strategy Alliance, a Takoma Park, Md., outfit run by the Rev. Romal J. Tune who has parlayed his ties with Jim Wallis’ Sojourners into a nice little operation. Tune has been the kind of traditionalist fellow-traveler that the AFT appreciates. It also tossed $5,020 over to the National Urban League, gave $7,500 to the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and put $75,000 into the pocket of talk show host Tavis Smiley’s media mini-empire. School reformers should take note and act accordingly.

The AFT handed out $209,230 to We Are Ohio, the outfit that helped lead the successful voter referendum against Ohio’s collective bargaining ban; gave $1.2 million to Californians Working Together to Restore and Protect Public Schools, which is pushing for the passage of Prop. 30, the $50 billion tax increase that would do little to spur the reform of the Golden State’s woeful public schools; and and handed off $100,000 to Educating Maryland Kids, the organization supporting the passage of the Land of Crabcakes’ Dream Act plan allowing undocumented immigrant children to attend public universities. Well, at least the last of the union’s spends mentioned in this report is going to a worthy purpose. The union also showed its concern for defending traditional teacher compensation by giving $135,000 to the National Public Pension Coalition.

Once again, you can download and peruse the AFT’s filing for yourself.