Archive for Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reports on administrative growth in schools get mixed reviews

November 7, 2013


— New reports focusing on the increase in administrative employees in Kansas school districts were greeted with skepticism by several legislators on Thursday, but others said the reports showed there is something wrong with the way schools spend taxpayer dollars.

Ben Scafidi, a senior fellow with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, told the Special Committee on Education that public schools have experienced a "staffing surge" in which the number of school employees grew at a higher rate than the increase in students.

In Kansas from 1993 to 2011, student enrollment grew by 7 percent, teachers by 16 percent and the number of what he called "administrators and other" staff by 36 percent, the report said.

He said if Kansas had limited the growth of nonteaching staff to the 7 percent increase in student enrollment, it could have saved $346.7 million per year or given every teacher a $10,000 pay raise.

State Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, said, "We're getting bigger and bigger and more expensive and student achievement levels are not changing at all. What we are doing is not working."

But several other legislators scoffed at the analysis.

State Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, said the study gave the impression that school districts were top-heavy with administrators, when many other professions were included in this nonteaching category, such as special education instructors, reading specialists, school psychologists, audiologists, and speech pathologists.

Trimmer said federal and state mandates require the hiring of many of these employees.

State Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, said dwindling school enrollment in some rural areas was probably skewing the numbers.

Many of his school districts are losing students but they still need a superintendent, he said. And, he said, superintendents in his area fulfill many other jobs.

Dave Trabert, president of the Kansas Policy Institute, also provided a report that he said showed Kansas schools are placing more emphasis on hiring more teacher aides than regular classroom teachers.

He said that raises questions about what parents and teachers think about this development and "upon what analytical studies are these staffing decisions made?"

State Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, asked Trabert if he spoke with any school superintendents about that, and Trabert said, "Not since we have done this analysis."


Julius Nolan 4 years, 6 months ago

Been around here long enough to know that if Dave Trabert posts anything, it definitely has a Koch approved message. And probably filled with un-truths, more commonly called lies.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 6 months ago

.........Many of his school districts are losing students but they still need a superintendent, he said. And, he said, superintendents in his area fulfill many other jobs.........

Kansas is not unlike other low population rural states in many areas. My main problem with educational spending is a belief tax dollars are wasted due to traditional thinking. A super is needed?.....really?.. our tiny districts should either merge, or if this isn't feasible, hire one on a percentage salary? Combine the administration between another or even a couple of other districts. Administration can in some cases be done by talented teachers who act as building principals too. Many instructors carry degrees in administration. a belief tax dollars are wasted due to traditional thinking.....

I support the governor in cutting back wasteful spending....but not in cutting a dime from actual instruction. In fact teachers/support staff deserve significant raises.

Just one simple idea....

When driving through town it's not uncommon to see 3 major buses running our streets. Add in the other transportation services and you have huge operating expenses. Tax paid expenses. Would it not be prudent to simply hire staff to ride the T/KU buses for district student supervision eliminating the huge district expense of transportation?

A win win for consideration. One, makes the other bus companies stronger, two, eliminates the need for administration (salary) level jobs, three, takes a significant amount of time and money not going to actual instruction off the school districts plate.

This is just one idea, there are so many ways to cut non instructional spending.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 6 months ago

Oh, this is not the former school board Morgan.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

It would seem quite easy to count the number of actual administrators not including special ed teachers, audiologists, speech pathologists, administrative assistants etc. Count the people whose primary job is paperwork not dealing with students (I understand everyone does paperwork to some extent and everyone deals with students to some extent). For example a special ed teacher is not counted as an administrator but the special ed supervisor who does not teach because their job is to supervise the actual special ed teachers would be an administrator. Then compare the ratio of principals to students, or vice principals to students currently compared to previous years. A 36% increase of a small number is not that many actual people whereas a 7% increase in a large number is quite a few people. For example an increase from 11 administrators to 15 administrators is an increase of approx 36%. Whereas an increase of 7% of student population could be from 5000 to 5350. Then make a reasonable educated estimate of the increase in paperwork that is required now compared to previous periods. I assume the paperwork has increased significantly like all other government agencies.

While I bet there are more administrators than in previous eras, I am guessing the ratio of administrator to number of students has not grown nearly as much as the ratio of amount of paperwork to number of students has grown. Are any of the additional administrators mandated by some recent government ruling? There can be many legitimate reasons other than waste for more administrators now compared to past eras.

In short this is probably not as big a deal as they are trying to make out of some stats that they can manipulate to their benefit.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

This thinking is about 18 months old.......

Save $3 million on bussing?

Something to think about as we must assume Brownback will reduce public school spending and open more local doors for tax dollar increases.

USD 497 budgets $4-4.5 million to bus students. The district is charged at a daily rate depending on how many students use the transportation.

Would parents be willing to find other means for getting students to school IF it meant providing more for students and teaching staff?

Think car pooling,family members, The T ,walking and biking etc etc etc.

USD 497 said it needed $3 million in 2011. Are USD 497 taxpayers willing to come up with $3 million? Laying off teachers is not the answer.

Some public school students use the T as we speak. Can the T provide service to some parents for less money? How many ways can the T assist USD 497 parents?

IF 75% of students were no longer bussed: 75% of $4,000,000 = $3,000,000 (million)

75% of $4,500,000 = $3,375,000

This bus service was not put out for bid to the best of my knowledge. Although the numbers were compared to what other districts were paying. Is this the best we can do? Also First Student provides other transportation services. In addition to providing part time jobs.

USD 497 must assume that Brownback will reduce spending on public schools in favor of vouchers supporting “religious” private schools.

Just thinking.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

"but others said the reports showed there is something wrong with the way schools spend taxpayer dollars."

It's the way the legislature blows tax dollars is the problem. This bogus republican party in Topeka is constantly character assassinating the public school system in an effort to distract taxpayers from the large mismanagement system the ALEC/Brownback Right Wing Party has put forth.

Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses - with permission from Kansas legislators.

Why in the world did Sam Brownback bring Arthur Laffer to Kansas? These ALEC thinkers are experts in wreckanomics. Arthur Laffer works for Sam Brownback.

Laffer, who had his heyday back in the Reagan years, is best known as the popularizer of the notion that raising tax rates beyond a certain level can actually reduce tax revenues by, among other things, discouraging entrepreneurship.

The consensus? Laffer seems to have forgotten, or ignored, some pretty basic concepts in economics. In other words, Laffer is getting laughed off the economic stage.

Read more:

Bob Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

Can we get a line added to the TOS stating that after a link has been posted on this award-winning website more than 50 times, it is no longer acceptable here?

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