Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Thursday, 29 November 2007

You have ads airing aimed at people who are at home in the middle of the day that make it seem as though spending $1,500 for a diningroom set is a GREAT DEAL (a savings from $3,500)...

But one of the top school districts in the state spending $9,000 per year per student is WAAAAAYYY too much money.

Thursday, 29 November 2007 08:28:54 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Tuesday, 04 December 2007 07:31:33 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I'd like to see a breakdown on that $9,000. Some of it is for building maintenance, some for salaries, new computers (my eldest's school got new Apples in the media center over the summer), but I would like to know how much of it is for things like lunch subsidies, classroom supplies. Heck, *teacher* salaries vs. the school superintendant.

I know it's silly, but I'm still stuck back in the day when the schools supplied all the pencils, etc.
Tuesday, 04 December 2007 08:33:36 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Wendy,

Fair enough questions, and very important. I have seen such numbers, but don't recall any specifically. The School districts have to send out accountability reports every year to homes in their district...so watch for those. I have skimmed them in the past, but not paid a lot of attention. I will try to dig them up, but I'm kind of swamped right now.

One of the issues raised by the Taxpayers group around here has been public executive salaries in general. They were very unhappy that we paid top-dollar for our school superintendant, for instance. On the other hand, the reason we had to pay top dollar for her is because we needed someone with her speciality - getting funding referendums passed.

See, not only had our school district not sucessfully passed a referendum for some time...we hadn't managed to RENEW a referendum for a few years. Hence, the school district was deferring building maintenance and such things. Also, we were letting the momentum of high enrollment carry us through the lack of community investment in the schools (crowding classrooms and collecting the head-count money from the feds and state.

Since we have a falling enrollment, and the state and federal funding has been drying up, we NEEDED to slide some referendums past the well-supported and well-organized anti-tax groups who have a tremendous recources they can call on from out-of-state organizations.

In the end, we managed to get that. We STILL spend $600 -$1000 less per student than surrounding districts, with similar results. So even though we are paying more for an administrator, I figure she's giving good value.

The milage will certainly vary from district to district. The local taxpayers have to decide on an individual basis if they are getting full value for the administrators they are paying. I don't think a State-wide cap on administrator salaries are the way to go...as each district has it's own needs.

For instance, the local taxpayer group put out a flyer in the last election cycle complaining bitterly about the total compensation package of our city manager: it was somewhere between $130, 000 and $140,000. I don't recall the exact number. An executive with the same number of responsibilities and employees, whose sucess was featured in a national business magazine (I think it was Fortune Magazine?), would be able to demand that amount multiplied by a double-digit number without anyone blinking an eye. Indeed, the total compensation for the person managing our city is less than the average houshold income of the people who live in the city and enjoy it's many wonderful amanities on a daily basis. Also, this is the person whose job performance has the most direct impact on the value of their property and such. You would think they could be a little less tight.

In other cities, the situation is different and should be soberly evaluated.
Teresa
Tuesday, 04 December 2007 09:26:46 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Wendy,

Just an aside, where did you go to school where they supplied pencils? I don't think I ever attended a public school where they supplied the pencils. When we lived in Montana, we didn't even have a school lunch program.

Granted, having to pay materials fees is new to me.

Just curious if it is a location thing, or maybe an age thing (although I think you are younger than me?)
Teresa
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 14:54:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I'm about to hit 40. :) It may be a location thing, as most of my friends from the MN area are unfazed by long supply lists for the classroom. And when I say that supplies were provided, that only went through sixth grade. When you hit junior high you had to bring your own. And if you wanted anything *cool*, you had to bring it. Kalamazoo is a big college town, so the schools may have been slightly better funded than average at the time.
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