Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Survey Monkey On Our Back?

Preface:  This is the 3rd installment of our analysis of administrator contract stipends.  For this piece, we looked at "professional" journal/newspaper/magazine subscriptions purchased during calendar 2010.  We're hearing back from our earlier posts on the stipend issue.  Let us remind you that we are not suggesting that any of these expenditures violate contractual agreements (we'll leave that up to the community --or perhaps the school board--to ask).  We merely want the community to be informed as to the lucrative "perks" nestled within inflated administrator contracts.  We want YOU, faithful readers, to ask the questions:  (is it even appropriate for these "perks" to be included in contracts?  Do we compensate these people enough already?  Are we maintaining a caste system of sorts where various employee "groups" [the "haves"] are getting a much sweeter deal than others [the have nots]?)

Let's Review the Contract Language on Stipends: 
C. Professional Development Stipend 
1. To promote professional growth each administrator shall be provided with a professional development stipend as follows: 
  a. $2000 per year for Building Principals; Assistant and Deputy District  Administrators; and Directors of Student Services or Human Resources. 
  b. $1375 per year for all other administrators. 
2. The professional development stipend may be used by an administrator for: 
  d. Other professional growth or learning activities and/or materials (for  example, professional  journals) as approved  by the supervising  administrator.  Any such materials shall remain the property of the school  or department. 
3. The professional development stipend: 
  a. Must be related to each administrator’s annual professional growth plan goals; 

Subscription Summary
  • 34 Total  subscriptions - $4560/yr
  • 10 "District" subscriptions --beyond those in library--- @ $2,049 ( $205 ea)
  •        7  "Group" subscriptions  $1,223
  •        3 School board subscriptions  $570  (Does the school board know they have these?)
  • 24 Individual subscriptions:  $2,765/yr
  • A total of 9 individuals (mostly administrators) have subscriptions:  avg of 2-3 each;   ~ $300 ea/yr
  • 25 DIFFERENT journals/magazines....and that's just for administrators.  Never mind that at least some of these are already available in , say, the high school library.

A Note from the Department of Repetition & Redundancy
We are purchasing multiple subscriptions of a particular journal in several cases.  Besides the fact that some of these may already be part of the high school library collection (in which case do we need individual subscriptions), can't we all get along and share?  Frei, Murphy, and Dawes have offices that are a stone's throw from each other.  Can't they share ONE subscription?

Why do we have FOUR "Survey Monkey" (an on-line survey tool) subscriptions?  ($300, $200(2),  $239.40)?    Subscriptions are held in the names of Culver, HS Athletics, HS Guidance, Brian Dean [Social Worker, ATODA/At-Risk Coordinator].  Why does Guidance pay the higher monthly rate?  Instead of $1,000 per year, we could get ONE "Pro" subscription for a mere $200.  Better yet...couldn't we just use the BASIC (*free*) subscription?  Do we really do surveys of more than 10 questions to more than 100 respondents?  The question needs to be asked.
  • Why do we have THREE "Education week" subscriptions? Stocks-Glover ($59.94), A. Murphy ($59.94) , Culver ($74.xx)
  • Why 3 subscriptions for WASB's " WI School Laws": Frei, Dawes,  Murphy ($85 each)
  • Why 2 subscriptions for WI Taxpayer Alliance, "Focus" Culver/Board ($99), Frei ($43)
Does Anybody LOOK at these purchases?
  • For 4 Survey Monkey subscriptions, we're paying THREE (3) different rates  Why?
  • For 3 Education Week subscriptions, we're paying TWO (2) different rates.  We researched Education Week subscriptions and found two websites offering it at $40/year.  So why are we paying $59-$75?
  • We have 2 subscriptions to the TaxPayer Alliance publication, "Focus".  The cost for Culver/the Board is $99, while Phil Frei's personal subscription is $43?  Why is that?   Can't they share a subscription?
  • At least we're paying the same price ($85 for each of our 3 subscriptions to "WI School Laws")
...and from the "Really!?" Department
Newsweek?  We get it.  It's a great "current events" magazine.  Maybe we could see it for a high school social studies class (who would use the library's subscription).  But for an elementary school principal?  And why are we paying three times as much for it as it is available for online?

Wisconsin State Journal?  We've asked this question before.  The school district administration feel entitled to have the taxpayers provided them with something for the "reading room".    7-Day Delivery, 26 weeks,  $65.  Do we REALLY need to provide a 7-day newspaper?  Hey...who gets the Saturday and Sunday editions?  Hmmm?

Hues? ("Hear Us Emerging Sisters") Our particular favorite.  We kinda get it.  This is a "girl power" mag, aimed at building self-esteem in young girls.  But what we don't so much get is that which you find if you Google it:  HUES is hip, smart, and down-to-earth. A woman's guide to power and attitude, HUES promotes self-esteem and self-sufficiency among young women, ages 16 - 30, of different cultures, sizes, and lifestyles. The publishers, Identical twin sisters Tali and Ophira Edut—known as The AstroTwins— are professional astrologers with over 15 years experience in astrology, publishing and coaching

Maybe if we purchased these from Publisher's Clearing House we could at least win $10,000,000!