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Today’s number: $581 per pupil

Thursday, Aug 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Center Square

Illinois’ 852 school districts spend almost twice the national average on “administrative costs,” according to U.S. Census Bureau data. School districts in Illinois spend $581 per pupil on school district administration on average, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. That’s more than double the national average of $230 per student.

“We’re spending more and getting less for our investment in our kids because too much of the money is siphoned away by these six-figure administrators,” Illinois Policy Institute Director of Budget and Tax Research Adam Schuster said. “If we spent the national average [on district-level administration costs] we would have saved $708 million last year.”

District-level administration refers to positions such superintendents, not principals.

This spending comes amid a decline in the number of public school students. From the 2017-2018 school year, total students had decreased by more than 2 percent since 2014, according to Illinois’ Report Card figures.

An April report from the Metropolitan Planning Council found that Illinois was the only state in America that spent more than $1 billion in total administrative costs in 2016. Metropolitan Planning Council Associate Adam Slade said one issue common to Illinois is that many school districts have only one school, meaning a district and school administrator essentially duplicate their work.

       

86 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    The best thing Center Square could do is go to rural districts and tell them to all consolidate.

    Go be the ones to go into these towns and tell them that consolidation and getting rid of superintendents and bloated.. whatever… should begin by consolidating districts.

    Of course, that means closing schools, most likely, and more high schools combining, leaving some towns without a single school in their borders.

    That would be impressive, following thru with this thought.

    Will they?


  2. - efudd - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    Merely mentioning consolidation of school districts in Union county gets people ready to fight. It needs to be done, but doing it, good luck.


  3. - Paraday - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    OW: Why would consolidating districts lead to consolidating schools? Completely different process, stakeholders, community effects, etc.


  4. - Truth Teller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    Talk with Robert Wolfe and ISBE. More than $200 of this figure is because IL reports differently than other states. I guess you could say it’s fake news!


  5. - Interim Retiree - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:29 am:

    OW - You need to stop trying to make sense.
    Does IPI ever research and report how much salaries and benefits of teachers would increase if districts consolidate? Do they report on how many of these small districts have really good academics? Large districts are always fiscally and academically better, right? Of course IPI doesn’t - it is easier to complain than actually doing real research and reporting.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    ===Why would consolidating districts lead to consolidating schools? Completely different process, stakeholders, community effects, etc.===

    You think consolidating districts will allow all the schools to stay open?

    That’s probably more wishful thinking than actual.

    The reality is the discussion isn’t about superintendents, it’s about schools that are so small yet have a whole building, multiple teachers, and a school board and superintendent.

    Wonder why… they won’t talk about consolidating after gear administrators are not needed?

    Hmm.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    - Interim Retiree -

    If reporting half of a story and ignoring what is trying to be said was a sport, IPI would be champions of the world.

    :)


  8. - Interim Retiree - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    ===Why would consolidating districts lead to consolidating schools? Completely different process, stakeholders, community effects, etc.===

    If you consolidate districts w/out closing schools, property taxes WILL go up. Salaries and benefits WILL rise, as will transportation costs among others. The state needs to offer real incentives if consolidation is to happen. BTW: You only save money if buildings close.


  9. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    Finally, a cause in which IPI and teacher unions can unite.


  10. - Interim Retiree - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    —- If reporting half of a story and ignoring what is trying to be said was a sport, IPI would be champions of the world—

    Priceless


  11. - Taste of Wheaton - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    The bloated pensions and salaries are for the children.


  12. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    =Why would consolidating districts lead to consolidating schools? Completely different process, stakeholders, community effects, etc.=

    Wow are you uninformed.

    Are you trying to say the reducing the super position is the only reason for consolidation?

    Wrong.

    Most of these districts that look at consolidation are getting killed by transportation costs, have serious facility issues (old buildings are expensive and most have serious issues due to deferred maintenance. Consolidating buildings is a huge part of it. Trying to get a more efficient use of staff (because you are almost always consolidating districts with declining .enrollment)

    The list goes on but it is all part of consolidation- same “stakeholders” etc.

    The issue is much more complex than a few IPI billet points. They never ever seem to actually investigate.


  13. - GA Watcher - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    Schools account for 60-70 percent of the average property tax bill. That number will continue to increase until the state changes the way we fund public education. Consolidation of schools and school districts needs to be part of a multi-faceted approach to resolving this situation.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    ===If you consolidate districts w/out closing schools, property taxes WILL go up. Salaries and benefits WILL rise, as will transportation costs among others. The state needs to offer real incentives if consolidation is to happen. BTW: You only save money if buildings close.===

    Ball game.

    Why Center Square only stops at the Superintendent and Administration level… well, they’re IPI


  15. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    There’s only one public school district in all of Chicago.

    Looking forward to IPI going to the Eastern Bloc and telling them they need to be more like Chicago.

    Call me when the shuttle lands.


  16. - NoGifts - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    Why do people oppose district consolidation? Consolidating school districts may not mean closing schools, but it does mean combining funding streams and funding decisions. Everyone is afraid they will be shortchanged. Maybe if districts didn’t feel like they were just scraping by as it is, there wouldn’t be as much panic. I think even if you don’t close schools but you get rid of some superintendents you’ll save some money. Flip side rural areas can’t afford to lose any employment and it would be painful for school district employees to lose their jobs.


  17. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    ==More than $200 of this figure is because IL reports differently than other states.==

    One sign that you’re administrative costs are too high is when you have the time to report numbers differently than every other state.


  18. - Annonin' - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Hey let’s give a jingle over to the EasternBlocHeads to see if they signed up for these consolidations? Huh


  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    ===Consolidating school districts may not mean closing schools===

    Rural and small districts consolidating with other rural and smalls districts… tough to see how “we’ll keep everything the same, no schools are closing”

    The real costs, again, are the building(s) and staffing buildings for classes of 16 students, when closing a school, and still having ~25 students in a class after consolidation… that’s where the savings is found; buildings, upkeep, and staffing.

    It’s a red herring. “Too many administrators, we only want them eliminated”

    They won’t tell you what happens after. Why?


  20. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    Not only Administrators pay is too high, but executive assistants to Supers are out of line also. Too much management.


  21. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    =Not only Administrators pay is too high, but executive assistants to Supers are out of line also. Too much management.=

    I know you are just trolling but please share your compensation analysis. Specifically for people who possess a degree beyond a masters in a market that has more jobs than candidates.


  22. - ajjacksson - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    Hey Taste of Wheaton, when was the last time you were in a public school classroom?


  23. - PatchworkOrange - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    ==One sign that you’re administrative costs are too high is when you have the time to report numbers differently than every other state==

    Zero to do with the $200. Zero.


  24. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    =One sign that you’re administrative costs are too high is when you have the time to report numbers differently than every other state.=

    LOL, it isn’t reporting “differently” it is additional requirements as in “more reporting”.


  25. - Cornish - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    This needs to be fixed. Illinois cost of living is the same as the national average. Why do we spend so much on administration?


  26. - illinifan - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    Not only high cost for the districts but fast forward and this results in high cost to pensions. Many school administrators are the 6 digit pensions. Yes consolidation would help along with consolidation of schools. JB’s panel hopefully will address this as part of addressing high property taxes.


  27. - anon2 - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    Illinois has more than 859 school districts.Florida has 74 district, and nine million more residents. So Illinois has 785 additional superintendents than Florida. The number of school district is one factor explaining more spending on administration in the Land of Lincoln.


  28. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    If the school consolidation were ever agreed upon, it would likely mirror the Township bill out of Mchenry. Notably any consolidation of districts would require referendum. So local concerns could be reflected at the ballot.


  29. - Downstate - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    It won’t happen until the state orders it done. It has to
    be an outside influence to make it happen. Local districts
    unless in dire financial straits will NEVER take a consolidation idea seriously.
    Give smaller districts a year to put a plan together and consolidate and when it doesn’t come to pass, (which it won’t) the state should just mandate newer more efficient larger school districts and force the consolidation.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===Illinois has more than 859 school districts.Florida has 74 district, and nine million more residents. So Illinois has 785 additional superintendents than Florida. The number of school district is one factor explaining more spending on administration in the Land of Lincoln.===

    Illinois is ranked #7 in K-12 education

    Florida?

    Florida is ranked #27

    You wanna be like Florida?

    That’s like thinking…

    “Gosh, Florida is good, why not be Mississippi”

    No thanks.

    shorturl.at/emxyT


  31. - Fav humsn - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    Low hanging fruit -> regional superintendents.

    Of course the legislature will need to eliminate all the ridiculous requirements that only they can do


  32. - MarseillesMike - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    This is still not true. They compare only superintendent salaries and ignore the assistant superintendents and directors that bigger districts have. These studies look only at the face and find what they want to find.


  33. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    The US Census Bureau reports two separate administrative numbers: general (board of ed and office of superintendent) and school (office of principal services). The number IPI quotes is general.

    For those 2 categories combined, only 3 other states spend more per pupil. New York, a state whose overall education spend per pupil eclipses all other states, spends $200 less per pupil than Illinois. 2 million Illinois pupils at $200 per pupil is $400 million that could be spent somewhere else.

    As with every other aspect of Illinois finances, we’re an outlier, and not in a good way.


  34. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    ===These studies look only at the face and find what they want to find.===

    #IPILogic


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    - City Zen -

    So you want to *cut* school funding?

    Yeah, Rauner tried to starve a whole state, K-12 included.

    How did that go?


  36. - Interim Retiree - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    — Low hanging fruit -> regional superintendents.

    Of course the legislature will need to eliminate all the ridiculous requirements that only they can do —

    So who will do all of the school safety inspections making sure things are as mandated…or the certification/licensing…or make sure the schools are teaching what has been mandated, etc? ISBE does not have the staff.
    BTW: if schools wish to consolidate, switch boundaries, have questions, the ROEs are the ones that help when understaffed ISBE can’t.
    And yes, some districts have studied consolidation or deactivation & followed through after a study is done.
    OW & JS Mill have been 100% correct with their comments. Thanks to you both.


  37. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    =Notably any consolidation of districts would require referendum=

    As it has since forever. Any more insights to share?

    Results of the various attempted consolidations are easy to find. Maybe look them up and you can see the actual ballot questions, the text of which is limited by election rules.


  38. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    - Interim Retiree -

    Too kind. Appreciate that.

    The problems IPI wants to discuss aren’t palpable so they disguise the want with a narrative folks can and want to digest.

    In reality, it makes me nauseous.


  39. - cdog - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    Student to employee ratio in CPS seems a little out of whack, using last years numbers.

    10:1

    361,314 : 35,176

    Illinois is a leader, alright. /s


  40. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    =Student to employee ratio in CPS seems a little out of whack, using last years numbers.

    10:1

    361,314 : 35,176

    Illinois is a leader, alright. /s=

    Based on your research of education practice, what is wrong with that ratio?

    I mean, some of you keep posting about numbers with zero concept of what they mean other than to say/imply something is wrong.

    To many admins- really? Any idea how many is enough? or maybe what research says is appropriate?

    Spending too much? why- because Florida spends less…please.

    Go to a school, go to a board meeting and ask why.


  41. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    “As it has since forever. Any more insights to share?

    Just because laws are on the books doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. McSweeney’s Township Bill improved on the existing Township consolidation law. Same is true for School districts . (60 ILCS 1/Art. 22 heading)
    ARTICLE 22. CONSOLIDATION OF
    MULTIPLE TOWNSHIPS
    (Source: P.A. 100-107, eff. 1-1-18.)


  42. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    ==So you want to *cut* school funding?==

    All-in, New York spends about $7,500 more per pupil on education than Illinois. Yet within the $7,500 difference, New York somehow figured out a way to spend less on these types of administrative costs. Pretty much every other state has as well.

    This mysterious and magical concoction exists everyone in America but here. And you’re not the least bit curious as to why?


  43. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    - City Zen -

    So you *do* want to cut funding.

    Good luck with that.

    Once again, your own half baked ideas come down to busting folks, be they union members, pensioners, now students.

    You are consistent.

    Oh, the state, and legislators and governors… they believe in more spending, while fixing current spending.

    Rauner gave us two years without any budget.

    Things better now?


  44. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    =they can’t be improved. =

    What specifically was your suggested improvement? Consolidation is already done though referendum.


  45. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    ==Spending too much? why- because Florida spends less…please==

    What Would Minnesota Do?

    Spend $130 less per pupil on general administration. On top of that, Minnesota spends $300 less on school administration.

    Over $800 million per year that could otherwise be allocated towards social services, higher ed, pension systems, etc.

    But, no, let’s mot *cut* anything, amirite? What do those other 47 states know?


  46. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    - City Zen -

    Then consolidation will need to be done for your Minnesota Utopia.

    You think that’s possible?

    Have at it.

    “Our goal is to first close your town’s school, then we plan on spending less on the students. Cool?”

    Let me know how that goes, start with downstate legislators.

    If you think they don’t realize that cutting administrators and consolidation doesn’t mean closing their towns’ schools, you are not aware Mary Jane isn’t legal until January 1st too.


  47. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    Paraday is right. Consolidating school districts has nothing at all to do with consolidating schools. You can consolidate management functions without closing a single school, changing bussing routes, mascots, etc.

    The $581 per pupil figure refers only to district level administration. Census tracks administrative spending WITHIN the school (principles, guidance counselors, etc) under an entirely different category.


  48. - MarseillesMike - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    City Zen, I could name eight or ten other places that a big district would put asst. superintendents and directors in their budgets. These studies are still not valid comparisons.


  49. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    –MarseillesMike–

    Actually they don’t compare salaries at all here, so you’re wrong to claim they’re leaving out assistant superintendents.

    The Census per pupil figure is comprehensive and includes all district level spending, including non-salary items like building up keep costs.


  50. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===Paraday is right. Consolidating school districts has nothing at all to do with consolidating schools. You can consolidate management functions without closing a single school, changing bussing routes, mascots, etc.===

    Really? If it were that easy or painless, why aren’t districts doing it?

    Prolly because the next step isn’t… business as usual.


  51. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ==Illinois is ranked #7 in K-12 education==

    Indiana is 6th.

    Indiana spends $600 less per pupil on administrative costs, $5,000 less overall.


  52. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    Districts aren’t doing it because right now the administrators themselves are in charge of consolidation. Even if you go through the effort to get a consolidation referendum on the ballot through petitions, the regional superintendent can veto it and voters never get their say.

    So your question is why don’t administrators cut their own jobs?

    Right now school district consolidation typically happens when they’re already planning to close a school they consolidate the district as part of that process. But that’s an artifact of our goofy system. There’s no reason the two have to go hand in hand.

    Many districts across the state already serve multiple schools. Many other states serve far more schools per district on average. There’s no reason well crafted legislation couldn’t encourage district consolidation while prohibiting school consolidation.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    “Indiana - The Utopia Angry Illinois Crave”

    How do they fund schools?


  54. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    - Phil King -

    Let me rephrase;

    Where is the groundswell to this consolidation?

    Am I missing rallies… “Consolidate Our Schools” that these administrators are stifling?

    I’d like to go to one.


  55. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    =Districts aren’t doing it because right now the administrators themselves are in charge of consolidation. Even if you go through the effort to get a consolidation referendum on the ballot through petitions, the regional superintendent can veto it and voters never get their say.=

    Phil King you are just straight up full of it. How many consolidation board meeting have you gone to? How many campaigns have yo worked on? How many superintendents have you asked?

    The answer iust almost certainly ZERO.

    =There’s no reason well crafted legislation couldn’t encourage district consolidation while prohibiting school consolidation.=

    You clearly know absolutely nothing about the issue.

    District Consolidation in Illinois, without combining schools (in rural Illinois) would be worthless. That is where the expense is. This would even be true in the suburbs in some case.

    You would be laughed out of any conversation about consolidation with people who understand the details.


  56. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Well I know there was a successful petition drive in the south suburbs last year that was veteod by the regional superintendent. So it is happening.

    But I also suspect a lot of people aren’t aware their money is being misallocated like this.


  57. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    =Where is the groundswell to this consolidation?=

    Only with people who do not understand how it works and don’t care to educate themselves.

    They should survey school board members from around Illinois.

    They will tell you it sounds like a good idea, just not for their district.


  58. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    ==JS MILL==

    You’re just 100% factually wrong. Illinois within school administration per pupil isn’t all that bad. The problem rest nearly entirely with general administrative costs, which again, ONLY include district level expenses.

    Maybe the problem is that you’re getting your information from superintendents? They’ve got a vested interest and are probably the least useful people to ask about this.


  59. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===Well I know there was a successful petition drive in the south suburbs last year that was veteod by the regional superintendent. So it is happening.===

    Find a link, I’m sure they went to the press over this.

    Thanks.


  60. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    Also, just adding, school board members are also a horrible place to get information about this. Obviously.

    Why does JS Mills only want to talk to people with vested personal financial interests? Should we only ask fossil fuels executives about climate change?

    Beyond absurd.


  61. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    @Phil King- I have a great idea for you. The IASA/IASB/IASBO conference (otherwise know as the school board convention) will be held in Chicago November 21-24.

    Go on one of the organizations websites and offer to be a presenter for one of the break out sessions and tell the attendees how they should consolidate.

    I am sure you will be a huge hit with all of the school board members that attend.

    I am surprised all of the experts like you didn’t think of that already.


  62. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===Why does JS Mills only want to talk to people with vested personal financial interests?===

    How’s that south suburb link search coming?


  63. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    Why would I want to petition school board members? That’s just silly. They’re the target of the reform, not the mechanism. We need to go direct to parents/taxpayers and cut out the special interests.


  64. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    ===We need to go direct to parents/taxpayers and cut out the special interests.===

    School board members are neither taxpayers or parents?

    I find that members are at least taxpayers.

    Can’t convince a fellow taxpayer?


  65. - Phil King - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    OW,

    Having trouble finding a news story about the one I was talking about. I heard about it from a friend on legislative staff. I know it was in Sen. Collins district which is why she ended up sponsoring legislation related to this issue last year.

    However there’s no shortage of stories on communities expressing interest in this. For example:

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/norridge/ct-nhh-consolidation-talk-tl-0927-story.html

    However, as that article makes clear the process is currently broken. Local parents and taxpayers are at the whim of the very administrators who are siphoning away resources from our students.


  66. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    If there’s no shortage, find me two more, as this shortage doesn’t exist.

    Do they want to close schools in Norridge?

    I mean, before I read…


  67. - AnonymousOne - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:18 pm:

    ===The bloated pensions and salaries are for the children==

    I certainly do find it interesting that such a drive by ugly comment is posted.

    Heck—keep the buildings. Provide the books and materials. Have the kids learn on their own in empty buildings.. No teachers, no salaries necessary. Save tons of cash. After all, even after those highly paid professional teachers are done with them, parents and students always claim they did all the achieving on their own anyway.


  68. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    From your link;

    ===Klaisner said some community members might seek consolidation in an effort to save on taxes, but he cautioned against the idea that it would mean a lower tax bill for the community.===

    Hmm


  69. - cdog - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    Mills, I’d start with making sure the Chicago Way had not infiltrated CPS. Oh the horror.

    How to do that? You stop every single payroll deposit, by employee, and make them re-certify on a new system.

    We all know a thorough reconciliation would benefit the bottom line and free up more resources where needed.

    Lightfoot gets this; she’s up against quite a culture.


  70. - Some Guy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    Rich, you really should ask Robert Wolfe about this. This is not a real issue; it’s a definitional issue where the US Census Bureau does not check to see if states report certain expenses in the same way. MPC failed to actually look at the data issues, reported on it (https://www.metroplanning.org/news/8716/How-can-Illinois-school-districts-address-funding-woes-Share-administrative-services), then it was picked up by the BGA, and now every outlet who doesn’t want to properly fund schools points to it as a reason why we shouldn’t. There is a precise definitional issue here; think about the smell test: CPS spending 5 times as much in admin per pupil as NYC? Not a chance.


  71. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    =However, as that article makes clear the process is currently broken. Local parents and taxpayers are at the whim of the very administrators who are siphoning away resources from our students.=

    This is beyond stupidty.

    If the school board wants something done, they alone have the power. they are not at the mercy of anyone.

    You clearly have some weird beef with school admins, because your dishonest tropes are easily debunked.


  72. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    ==CPS spending 5 times as much in admin per pupil as NYC? Not a chance.==

    NYC has 2.5 times more students than CPS.

    If there is a “precise definitional issue here”, why hasn’t ISBE done anything about it all these years?


  73. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    =the ROEs are the ones that help when understaffed ISBE can’t.=

    In fact they are doing many of the things that the ISBE should be doing.

    =Also, just adding, school board members are also a horrible place to get information about this. Obviously.

    Why does JS Mills only want to talk to people with vested personal financial interests? Should we only ask fossil fuels executives about climate change?=

    What? So you want your info from IPI and people who have absoluttely zero understanding of how schools work?

    So you ask a mechanic for information on your health? Seems like that might be true.

    As an experienced school administrator, I know how the system works, the legal aspect, and have personal experience with school boards refusing the recommendation of multiple school admins to seek consolidation.

    I understand with expertise all of the considerations in consolidation.

    This whole vested personal interest nonsense and attempted character assassination is just pure horse manure. Only someone like you would suggest that the industry professionals should not be consulted. We aren’t worried about our jobs. Over the past decade nearly 10% of school districts have been starting the year with interim superintendents. There are more than enough jobs out there. We don’t need to ride a dying horse to have an income.

    You may be dishonest in your business but the rest of us are not.


  74. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    The prevailing wisdom of so many Springfield insiders is that government spending can never, ever get cut.

    We are just one more tax hike or new regulator or administrator away from the prosperity Illinois residents so richly deserve


  75. - Some Guy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==NYC has 2.5 times more students than CPS.If there is a “precise definitional issue here”, why hasn’t ISBE done anything about it all these years?==

    (a) go and look at the Census data yourself prior to ‘09, the admin expense is dramatically lower, it was an accounting rule change that was implemented by ISBE in ‘09; I’m not basing this on mere opinion, this is a fact that the census bureau has confirmed. It wasn’t corrected because disseminating and implementing major accounting changes across districts is not easy and until MPC ran their article last year, no one really paid attention.
    (b) so you’re saying if CPS admin/pupil is 5 times NYC and NYC is 2.5 times the number of students, that CPS’ admin spending is 2.5 times more IN TOTAL (I repeat, IN TOTAL) than NYC? Get a grip.


  76. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    Illinois spending priorities have more “sacred cows” that can’t be touched than all of India.

    That is a lot of cows, almost 45 million in India.


  77. - Some Guy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    *2 times more IN TOTAL


  78. - Aren’t we lucky - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    The average individual administrator salary in my district is more than twice the state family income. This doesn’t count the pension or benefits that are much, much more. It’s a little difficult to stomach.


  79. - NeverPoliticalyCorrect - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    First Supt. and Principals are not doing the same job, not even close. The onerous compliance reports occupy the majority of a Supt. time. Second, consolidating districts will not result in closing schools unless schools are underutilized. However, the poster child for underutilized school buildings is in Chicago, a unit district. But they can’t get community support to right size. Third, as other have said, you want to save money, then look at silly mandates from the state that don’t do anything to facilitate education. Fourth, the state pays the same amount per pupil regardless of district type, unit versus non-unit. so it doesn’t save the state any money. It could reduce local expense but if anyone think schools will take less money is heavily using some type of CBD. What this does do is reduce the concept of local control and many in the education industry and state government want that because they want more control over education. I am a school board member and our district is fiscally stable, in good physical shape and we have many families running away from CPS to come to us. What the state really needs to do is break up CPS, it is a fiscal and educational disaster.


  80. - Winderweezle - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:00 pm:

    When you start talking about closing buildings there needs to be a plan in place to dispose of the buildings.

    A small town with a large, vacant structure is not good for aforementioned small town.

    It costs real money to keep the roof and other systems in reasonable repair.

    It also isn’t fair to the neighbors to have to live next to a dilapidated, run down, empty building.


  81. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    ==go and look at the Census data yourself prior to ‘09, the admin expense is dramatically lower, it was an accounting rule change that was implemented by ISBE in ‘09==

    OK…

    2005:
    General Admin = $303
    School Admin = $463
    Total admin costs as % of total per pupil spend = 8.5%

    2017:
    General Admin = $581
    School Admin = $808
    Total admin costs as % of total per pupil spend = 9%

    If you can pinpoint this mysterious accounting change, I’m all ears.


  82. - Some Guy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:54 pm:

    ==I’m all ears==

    Good, maybe you can learn something…
    In FY 2009, ISBE’s Annual Financial Report and Accounting Rules were revised to include expenditures from district Tort Funds in districts’ “general administration”, thereby dramatically increasing what is reported as general administration expenses. In the case of CPS, this accounting change made CPS’s administration expenses appear to jump by 144% in just one year. Don’t you think someone would have said something if CPS increased its administrative spending by 144% in a single year? The answer is “yes”, CTU and every Chicago news outlet would have mentioned this. But they didn’t. You know why? Because it wasn’t an actual increase in spend. IT WAS AN ACCOUNTING RULE CHANGE.

    Go back and look a just the two years surrounding the accounting change and then stop with the opinion when you’re staring in the face of facts.


  83. - Cornish - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:57 pm:

    Why does a state with a cost of living at the national average have one of the highest education administrative costs in the US? Something is very wrong here.


  84. - ajjacksson - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 6:56 pm:

    Thank you, JS Mill, for your opinion, for standing your ground, and for your years of service as an administrator. An experienced classroom teacher


  85. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 9:02 pm:

    Some Guy -

    1) If there was a change in 2009…
    2) But the USCB numbers reported from prior 2009 through today do not reflect that change…
    3) And the numbers I’m quoting are derived from the exact same USCB reports referenced in the post…
    4) Then where is the evidence that whatever ISBE change occurred in reporting admin costs impacted the numbers reported to USCB?

    I’m not denying rules don’t change. But I’m not seeing the impact to the topic of the post, namely, the $581.


  86. - Some Guy - Friday, Aug 30, 19 @ 12:59 am:

    City Zen,

    The real issue is the COMPARISON of the $581 to other states’ admin expense. Other states are not including tort fund expenditures in their admin expense function code (I have determined this by spending hours going through their financials and through discussions with Census). So before the change by ISBE in ‘09, the comparison was more legitimate (albeit still not perfect because Census does not ensure the same admin expense function code is being universally applied across states). After the change, it artificially inflated Illinois’ number relative to other states. If you remove the tort fund to better match other states, Illinois becomes about average in the US for admin expense per pupil. So to summarize my original point, this purported “bloat” in Illinois compared to other states is not legitimate, it’s an issue with the data.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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