The FY13 Proposed Budget increases the staffing for the Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Division (school administration only) by six positions. Is anyone surprised? Enrollment is decreasing, seven schools are being closed, 350 teachers are being let go – and the conclusion is – we need more administrators!
At first glance, my impression was positive – all but eight of the positions for the “reform programs” were being eliminated (see prior post). As to why the last eight positions in the School Reform Teams are not being eliminated is beyond my understanding. But then a closer look presents a different picture. Essentially, the 17 positions cut in the in the “reform programs” have simply been transferred to other school administrative functions – plus an additional six positions. I guess we need more administrators to administer the reforms that cost $40 million over the last five years.
In terms of cost cutting, this Division has a FY13 Proposed Budget of $46.6 million which represents a cut of approximately $2.4 million, or 4.9% (not reaching the 10% goal by half). And this is when a picture is worth a thousand words.
Surprised by what you see above? Salaries are up by $344k (but the corresponding Employee Benefits are down 6.4% – likely another budget error or allocation issue). So the bulk of the expense reduction is represented by a decrease in Professional Services of $1.1 million and Other Purchased Services of $938k. How about that in the name of “austerity”. And think of the message that is being sent to the troops that are reducing their ranks by 350. What a magnificent example set by the leadership! Again – do as I say, not as I do.
A word about the departments included in School Administration – the departments treated as “administrative” all oversee other instruction departments, are primarily made up of “administrative positions” or do not include any teachers in the listed departmental positions.
And now to the dirty detail work – let’s look at it department by department and see if we find any other surprises.
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction (1610) – Well this is interesting. The office run by the Deputy Superintendent has added 12 positions since FY12. Five accounting positions, three Compliance Coordinators, two grants administrators and one Communications Liaison (but no partridges in a pear tree – thank goodness!). I thought we already had an Accounting Department, an Internal Audit Department and a Communications Department – but, I must be mistaken. And with these additions, Salaries increased by $2.2 million or 368.7%. However, Professional Services came down by $805k or 73.4%. So we now have a new definition for “fiscal austerity” – limit the increases in cost to no more than $1.6 million or 77.1%!
School Administration (1101) – Jackpot! This department is the winner in terms of positions added – a total of 74 as compared to FY12. To be fair, the largest increase is the addition of 53 Assistant Principals which Superintendent Davis was strongly in favor of – one Assistant Principal for each school. In addition, this department added 13 Academy Leaders and 37 Office and School Clerks. In summary, this department has an overall increase of $3.3 million, or 10% as compared to the FY12 Amended Budget.
Research, Planning and Accountability (1680) – On a stand-alone basis, I understand the need for this department, although I do not understand why seven of the 21 positions are Administrative Assistants (even the CFO does not need that many). However, when considering this department along with the Strategic Planning Department and the Organizational Advancement Department – I think we may have reached a “bridge to far”. While I value the planning, research, accountability, strategy and organizational advancement functions in an organization – when is too much simply too much? I think we are there.
Office of High School (1678) – This department has been shut down for FY13.
Exceptional Children – Admin (1629) – The changes in this department are also interesting. Superintendent Davis indicated that expenditures for the Exceptional Children’s programs had to be increased – and we saw a substantial increase ($4.0 million) at the Direct Instruction level. However, the administration function for this team has cut expenses by $941k or 41% and reduced the staff from 15 positions to two for FY13. Actually, if this was the general direction that the System is taking, I am all for it – increase the teachers and others that have direct contact with students and substantially reduce administrators. Let’s hope that the example shown in this department takes hold in the entire System.
Professional Development (1506) & Teaching and Learning (1507) – Another interesting point to note – these two departments are being reduced in FY13 by $689k or 27.7%. However, I don’t believe this reduction should cause concern as there is $3.5 million in the Special Revenues Fund allocated for these purposes.
All the Rest – Student Placement and Appeals (1693), Student Programs & Services (1598), Center for International Studies (1247), Expanded Day/Special Project (1503), External Programs (1231) and Records Center (1642) – all relatively small departments and the changes do not amount to much.