Friday, September 7, 2018

School Administrators Part 3: How the ratio of school management employees to all employees compares to the overall public and private sector in Kansas.

In Part 1 of this series, KASB looked at how school district superintendent numbers and salaries compare to all Kansas employees, both public and private sector. In Part 2, we looked at salaries of all employees, and how leadership salaries compare to all employee salaries in school districts and all Kansas public and private organizations. In this third part, we look at the ratio of “management” employees to all employees in school districts compared to the overall public and private sectors in Kansas. In other words, we wanted to see if school districts appear to be “top heavy” compared to all public and private organizations.

We use data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, specifically the State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Kansas. The most recent report is from May 2017 (Link). The BLS estimated the total number of Kansas employees, public and private, was 1,369,110. Those positions are broken to 22 major occupational groups, including “management occupations” and hundreds of specific occupational titles within those groups.

We then compared that to data from the Kansas State Department of Education on school district employees and expenditures.

Here is what we found.

1.      Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics occupation titles, there are fewer school district management employees per 1,000 employees than for all private and public employees.

According to the BLS report, out of those 1.37 million total Kansas employees, 62,800 are in the “Management Occupations” group, or 45.871 per 1,000 total employees. In other words, 4.6 percent of Kansas employees are considered “management” by the BLS report.

Determining the comparable number of school district “management positions” is more difficult because the position titles do not exactly align with BLS positions. One approach is to simply use the BLS report, which said there are 2,370 employees in Kansas under the title of “Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School.” The position is defined as “Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of public or private elementary or secondary level schools.”

Using this BLS occupation category, there are 34.292 elementary and secondary school administrators  per 1,000 school employees, well below the 45.871 management employees per 1,000 in the state as a whole.

2.      A broader list of school management positions also remains below the overall average for all state employees.

However, the BLS number cannot be directly equated to public school district administrators for several reasons. First, a portion of these employees work for private schools rather than public schools. The Kansas State Department of Education lists approximately 150 private accredited and non-accredited schools with principals or other administrative positions. (There about ten times as many public schools.) Second, this description does not seem to include other district-level administrative positions. For example, school superintendents align with chief executives.

To address these issues, KASB identified the following district and school building level administrative positions from KSDE employee reports: Superintendents (252), Associate and Assistant Superintendents (86.6), Principals (1,188.5) and Assistant Principals (604.2), Directors or Supervisors of Special Education (224.2) or Career Technical Education (21.1), Director and Supervisors of Health (13.7), Curriculum Supervisors and Coordinators (224.2) and all other supervisors, directors and coordinators not specified (367.5).

The assumption is that these positions would include not only BLS “Education Administrators,” but also other positions that would fall into BLS “Management Occupations” categories such as Chief Executive, General and Operations Managers, and others.

These positions total 2,874, which would equal 38.838 management positions per 1,000 school district employees. That is over four more “management positions” per 1,000 school district employees than the BLS list, but still well below the 45.871 management occupation positions per 1,000 total private and public sector employees in Kansas.

3.      The numbers above exclude the following school district employees that are comparable to occupations not included by the BLS as “management occupations.”

The BLS report does not define “management occupations.” Instead, it simply lists 35 of such occupations under that category. However, this category clearly does not include ALL jobs with any kind of supervisory duties – because there are a number of occupation titles with supervising responsibilities that are NOT listed under management. These include the following BLS jobs which overlap with various school district positions:

·        BLS Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations; Chefs and Head Cooks; First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers. Compare to School district food service directors/coordinators/supervisors (280.4).

·        BLS Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations; First Line Supervisors of Housekeeping and Janitorial Workers, and BLS Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations; First-line Supervision of Mechanics, Installers and Repairers. Compare to School District Operations and Maintenance Directors/Coordinators/Supervisors (409.0).

·        BLS Transportation and Material Moving Occupations; First-line Supervisors of Transportation and Material Moving Workers, Except Aircraft Cargo Handing Supervisors. Compare to School District Transportation Directors/Coordinators/Supervisors (173.5).

·        BLS Business and Financial Operations Occupations (various), BLS Office and Administrative Support Occupations (various). Compare to School District Business Managers and Business Directors/Coordinators/Supervisors (254.4)

·        BLS Computer and Mathematical Occupations (various). Compare to School District Technology Directors/Coordinators/Supervisors (252.2)

Matching school district positions to BLS occupations is, of course, somewhat subjective. Some individual school district employees in these non-management groups could be considered as part of “management,” depending on their actual job assignments. Likewise, some positions we included in the “management” group, especially “coordinators” would fall into non-management categories, depending on their actual duties. For example, the BLS reports 1,230 “instructional coordinators” in Kansas that are not considered “management occupations.” However, KSDE data does not breakout “coordinators” from supervisors and directors.

If all the school district positions listed above were considered school district managers, the number would be 61.404 per 1,000 school district employees. However, if such occupations are considered “management” for school district purposes, then similar non-school district occupations should also be considered “management” for comparison purposes. That would increase the number of “managers” in the overall economy as well.

Bottom line: the data suggests school districts have fewer total management positions compared to all Kansas organizations.

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