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

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