Thursday, October 27, 2016

How do school district administrative costs compare to the private sector?

A recent report from the Harvard Business Review found that managers and administrators made up 17.6 percent of the U.S. workforce and received nearly 30 percent of total compensation, which works out to one manager and administrator for every 4.7 employees. The report suggested the U.S. economy could function more efficiently with one manager for over 10 employees.

Out of 68,372 school district positions last year, 4,096 were superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, managers or directors. These management positions are 6.0 percent of the total school district workforce, or one manager for every 16.7 employees. In other words, school managers supervise almost four times as many employees as managers in the overall workforce.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a chief executive officer in Kansas (both public and private organizations) last year was $185,850. The average salary for a Kansas school superintendent that year was $102,238. The average salary for superintendents in large districts (more than 5,000 students) last year was $174,921. (As in the private sector, executives of larger organizations tend to make substantially more.) KASB Report

Follow-up: Some say certain superintendents or administrators make $500,000 to $600,000 per year.

The highest salary reported to KASB for last year was $239,000. Reports featuring these larger amounts appear to be cases where superintendents received a one-time retention bonus based on longevity. School boards negotiate these contracts to reward administrators who stay in the district, using the same logic to retain talented managers as the private sector. KASB Report

It is also important to differentiate between salary and benefits. The amounts for board paid fringe benefits can vary based on what kinds of benefits were agreed upon in the superintendent’s contract. The average amount reported for board paid fringe benefits for superintendents last year was $10,615, but values ranged from less than $1,000 to over $100,000.  KASB Report

Have school districts hired more educators or administrators in recent years?

Out of nearly 8,000 school district positions added since 1998, 7,266 (82.8 percent) have been what a legislative study committee identified as “direct educators”; 1,171 (13.3 percent) have been positions not directly connected to instruction, such as bus drivers; and 341 (3.9 percent) have been in “core support,” which includes staff of central administrative offices (not necessarily superintendents and principals.) KASB report.

Since 1998, the number of superintendents has decreased by 27 (9.3 percent) and the number of principals dropped 76 (6.0 percent). The number of students, teachers and other support staff have increased, which means individual superintendents and principals are responsible for supervision and evaluation of more students and staff. KASB report.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What do school districts do with more (or less) money?

About 85 percent of school funding goes to school district salaries and benefits or to contracts for services that employ others receiving salaries and benefits. When operating funding increases, it generally goes to provide competitive salaries and benefits and to hire more people to provide additional services. KASB report.

From 2000 to 2005, total school employees increased by over 524 positions; from 2005 to 2019, employment increased an additional 6,415 following the Montoy funding, and as funding has fallen behind inflation since 2009, school district employment decreased by 1,719. KASB data tool.

Most of the rest of the funding increases in recent years have been for improving school district facilities for increased enrollment, expanded programs, energy efficiency, safety features and new technology.

Follow-up: Some say school districts have hired far more non-teachers than teachers in recent years. Is that true?

That is only true if not counting individuals who assist teachers in the classroom, but are not fully licensed teachers, such as special education paraprofessionals and regular classroom aides. Districts have hired more of these positions because licensed teachers may not be available, or because it is more efficient to hire these individuals to take over routine duties from regular teachers.