Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spotlight on Administrative Costs

Administrators are bucking for raises. Phil Frei told us that he/the district has budgeted for 1.6% increases in salary. At last week's board "work-study" session, Frei shared a graphic which purports that Sun Prairie spends the least percentage of its budget on "Administrative and Operating Expenses" than the 7 school districts closest in size to ours.

Not only does such a figure look good when one is tryingf to "sell" a budget, but it also looks really nice when one is trying to sell a community--or school board--on the idea of raises.

We're not sure what constitutes "Administrative and Operating Expenses". It's kinda nebulous. We'd rather look at absolutes...tangibles. You know? So we went data mining on the DPI site. Perfect timing, as DPI just posted data for 2010-11. Frei indicated that his data was "the most recent" available on the DPI site. It is noteworthy that for most "reports" available for school district, the most current available data is 2-3 years old. Let's use current information, dontcha think?

We looked--initially-- at three variables:
1. Total Salary and Fringe benefit costs for staff classified as "Administrators"
2. Salary and Fringe Costs (dollars) per child (based on 2010-11 enrollment)
3. Number of kids enrolled per Administrative staff member.

Take a look at our data. It seems a tad different than the picture the District wanted to leave you with. But you decide.

More to come on this topic.