To the editor:
In the Sunday edition of this newspaper, a candidate for school board, who I respect and have voted for in the past, made a comment I think deserves a respectful response. According to the newspaper interview, she suggests the school district's administration costs are 1.41 percent of the district's $62 million budget, or $870,000. The following can be verified on the National Center for Education Statistics Web site (www.nces.ed.gov), where the district's budget report goes each year.
The center reports in 2001 that USD 497 spent $660 per student, or 10.9 percent of the total expenditures on administrative expenditures. This represents a total of $6.9 million in expenditures for 2001, or 7.9 times the amount of the candidate's estimate.
It is possible the candidate was referring only to district administrative staff. The center reports for 2001 that Lawrence had 31.9 district administrators, 21.5 district administrative support staff, 35 school administrators, and 58.2 school administrative support staff. Therefore district administrative staff makes up 36 percent of all administrative staff. If spending on district administration is proportional to its staff, then the proportion of the budget spent on district administration is roughly $2.5 million. If we assume average salaries of $60,000 for administrators and $30,000 for support staff, the expenditures for salaries alone would be $2.6 million.