Archive for Tuesday, September 24, 1991


September 24, 1991


While enrollment in the Lawrence school district increased by 23 percent between 1984 and 1991, the number of central office administrators fell by nearly 9 percent in that same period.

Those figures were part of a report on district staffing and enrollment trends that Lawrence School Supt. Dan Neuenswander presented to the Lawrence school board Monday night.

Board member Tom Murray, who vowed to take a close look at district administrative costs during his campaign for the school board this spring, questioned some aspects of the report.

The number of students in the district rose from 7,267 in 1984-85 to 8,944 this school year, an increase of 23 percent. Meanwhile, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) certified teachers in the district increased from 485.9 to 602, an increase of 23.9 percent.

The pupil-teacher ratio, which does not include special education teachers, counselors, nurses or librarians, dropped from 19.8 in 1984-85 to 18.4 last school year, Neuenswander said.

BOARD MEMBER Jerry Hannah questioned those totals, noting that several teachers in the district have classroom enrollments numbering closer to 30.

Neuenswander said the pupil-teacher ratio includes such faculty members as art teachers and physical education teachers. He said he could provide a separate report on the number of classroom teachers and their class sizes at a later date.

Neuenswander said that while the average teacher salary rose 40.4 percent from $22,224 in 1984 to $31,203 this year, total teacher costs have increased by 74 percent because of the additional number of teachers hired.

He said he estimated that the cost-of-living increase in that same time period was 30.5 percent, slightly below the average teacher salary increase of 40.4 percent.

"We're keeping up or a little better, but it's nothing to write home about," Neuenswander said.

NEUENSWANDER said the number of principals and assistant principals increased by 5.7 percent between 1984-85 and this school year. The number of full-time equivalent central office program coordinators increased by 0.8 percent, from 13.1 to 13.2. And the number of FTE central office administrators decreased 8.8 percent from 17 to 15.5, Neuenswander said.

Murray, however, said, "I don't agree with the general conclusion that there has been a net drop in the number of administrators."

He said that while Bob Taylor was once the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Taylor now is simply the assistant superintendent, and two other people have been hired for the posts of director for curriculum and director for student outcomes.

Neuenswander said Taylor did not address student outcomes when he was involved with curriculum and instruction.

"THAT'S A new task. Outcomes is a measurement of the results of your curriculum and instruction," Neuenswander said.

He also said that while some new positions have been created in the last seven years, others have been eliminated.

"The bottom line is we have reduced the number of administrators that we have at the central office," Neuenswander said.

Board member Harriet Shaffer said Neuenswander's report was "a good starting point for further discussion" of staffing issues.

Also on Monday, the board heard a report by Frank Krizman, a local parent who helped raise money to fund this year's Lawrence High School Fall Jamboree after the board cut funding for the event as part of $975,400 in budget cuts.

Krizman said it was "just too easy" to raise the $4,000 needed for the jamboree, which is a pre-season event featuring LHS and junior high football teams and the LHS cross country team. Krizman said it was evident that the community supported the event, and he criticized the board for cutting an event that actually generates revenue for the LHS athletic department through gate receipts.

DARRELL FALEN, LHS athletic director, said this morning that the gate receipts totaled about $1,000-$1,200 this year, with about $850 of that helping to fund the event. He said the event typically generates around $1,000 in gate receipts.

Board President Mary Loveland noted that Haskell Indian Junior College this year tripled its rates for the use of its stadium to $3,000 per event. For that reason, while the gate receipts might have held even, the cost of the event increased considerably, she said.

In other business Monday, the board:

Heard a report by Craig Fiegel, the district's director for business and facilities, regarding the possibility of a district maintenance and custodial audit.

Fiegel said that with the retirement this year of Ed Mumford, the district's longtime maintenance supervisor, and the retirement last year of John Kapfer, the district's longtime director of maintenance and operations, the district perhaps could use some new direction in the area of facilities maintenance.

"WE'RE IN a reactive mode," Fiegel said. "I think we all feel that we're putting out fires. We don't have preventive maintenance. We're not on top of things."

After talking with the board, Fiegel said he would look into the respective costs of a custodial audit or management services. While the first option would simply result in recommendations for improving efficiency, the second option could result in an outside company providing equipment, employee training and on-site management, Fiegel said.

Discussed but made no change to a board policy allowing the district to make purchases of under $6,000 without prior approval by the school board. Murray had requested a discussion of the policy after the district purchased a $5,200 sprinkler system this summer without board approval.

Murray wanted to know how often district administrators would have to come before the board with purchase requests if the limit were lowered to $4,000. Neuenswander said such a policy change would result in the board making considerably more purchase considerations.

State law allows districts to make purchases of up to $10,000 without prior approval by the school board.

Approved the $23,597 purchase of a tractor, a tractor blade and a New Holland uniloader. The board already had approved the purchase of the tractor at its last board meeting, but the board on Monday considered new bids on the blade and the uniloader.

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