Monday, October 19, 2015

PEER on education: Perfumed princes get more money, teachers get less.

The PEER Committee issued a report last week that stated Mississippi spent more money on administrators and contractors but less money on instruction since 2005.  In other words, the generals took care of themselves while the troops suffered on the battlefield for lack of support.




PEER made the following observations:

*Overall, Mississippi’s public school districts increased spending in all major budget
categories over the ten-year period except for the Instructional category.

*With the exception of the Instructional category, the major budget categories all experienced spending increases from FY 2005 through FY 2014, from approximately 4% in Food Services to approximately 24% in Plant Operations. Total expenditures in the Instructional category decreased by approximately 3.2% during this period.

Teachers? Who needs teachers? Check out this fact:

*Salaries of teachers and other professional personnel declined by approximately $130 million.

However, don't worry because the bosses are going to take care of themselves like, well, a boss:

*Administration: Salaries of professional personnel increased by approximately $15 million.

Then there is athletics. We got to have us some football, by damn.

*Other Programs: Spending for athletics increased by approximately $20.6 million. When combined with other changes in this category, the result was a net increase of approximately $13.7 million.

Students? Remember the students? It seems school districts spent more money on everything else BUT the students:

*At the level of expenditures per student, total expenditures per student increased from $8,714 in FY 2005 to $9,196 in FY 2014. With the exception of the Instructional category,
expenditures per student increased in all categories from FY 2005 to FY 2014. In the Instructional category, expenditures per student decreased from $4,969 in FY 2005 to $4,890 in FY 2014.....

Overall, school districts’ spending in the Instructional category declined by approximately 3.2% over the ten-year period. Spending in the Administration category increased by approximately 13% during the same period.

From FY 2005 through FY 2014, total expenditures in the Instructional category declined by approximately $75 million, or approximately 3.2%. During the same period, total expenditures in the Administration category increased by approximately $57 million, or approximately 13%.

That was for a ten-year period. The five-year snapshot provided a worse picture:

*total expenditures declined by approximately $295 million.

From FY 2009 to FY 2014, total expenditures by public school districts declined by approximately $295 million. Changes during this time in the seven major budget categories were:

-Instructional--$288 million decrease
-Administration--$2 million increase
-Plant Operation--$4 million decrease
-Food Services--$11 million decrease
-Transportation--$9 million increase
-Student Support--$6 million decrease
-Other Programs--$3 million increase

Can't cut the bosses pay, can we? Here is another nugget:

*In FY 2005, expenditures for instruction represented approximately 57% of that fiscal year’s total expenditures; in FY 2014, expenditures for instruction as a percentage of total fiscal year  expenditures represented approximately 53%.

Then there is spending per student.  It seems spending per student went up by nearly $2,000 per student in ten years BUT actual instructional spending per student did not change at all. Ouch. But its all about the children.  Wrong.  Its all about the chiefs and their contractor friends.

Speaking of students, the report says Mississippi is spending more money than ever on public schools but the number of public schools has fallen by nearly 8,000 students since 2005.  Mississippi had 463,816 students in 2005 but fell to 456,022 students.

Consultants. Did someone say consultants? PEER took note of the consultants and "technical services".

*purchases of professional and technical services increased in all seven major budget categories by approximately $41 million....

The increased level of expenditures for professional and technical services indicates that over the ten-year period of review, school districts have increasingly used the services of outside individuals and companies in the areas of:

-support of policymaking and managerial activities of the school district;-services such as curriculum improvement, counseling and guidance, library and media support, and contracted instructional services

- professional services from medical doctors, lawyers, architects, auditors, accountants, therapists, audiologists, dieticians, and system analysts...

There is no mention of the Jim Keith welfare fund.

The school districts also hired more administrators than teachers over the ten year period: 627 to 488. PEER also states the teacher salaries were walloped by inflation:

*PEER compared the number of classroom teachers in FY 2005 to FY 2014 and found that the number of classroom FTE teachers increased by 488 during the ten-year period. Given that the number of classroom teachers increased slightly during the ten-year period, the decline in inflation-adjusted salaries indicates that salaries in this category did not keep pace with inflation. PEER notes that teachers received a $1,500 raise in FY 2015 and an additional $1,000 raise in FY 2016.....

PEER concluded:

*Typically, the Legislature dedicates more than half of available general fund revenue to
the funding of all educational activities. Federal and local financial resources supplement the amounts provided to school districts annually by the Legislature.


*Overall, school districts increased spending in all major budget categories over the ten-year period except for the Instructional category.

*Overall, school districts increased total expenditures per student in all major budgetcategories over the ten-year period except for the Instructional category.

Teachers get less and the perfumed princes get more.  Anyone surprised?

Got to love the REMF's.  

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

And I don't see how Int. 42 will solve anything. Until students, parents, teachers, admin and the community as a whole care, a lot of money is just thrown at the schools -- for admin to eat up. Why not find out what is working in some districts and implement in the ones failing?

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why 42 is a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

At least one area school district is telling their teachers that they will get a pay raise if 42 passes.

Anonymous said...

There are many "administrative" positions that have been added in the last few years to accommodate legislative oversight. If the state wants a law in place saying that they won't pay districts unless a student is in school 65% of the day then that rule requires that someone is doing the reporting on that. If the state decides that it wants to have Reading Gate that requires that more literacy coaches are hired. If the state decides it wants another state test that requires testing coordinators and so on. Those are all "administrative" posts because they aren't classroom teachers. Many admins want to be able to hire more classroom teachers, but their hands have been tied trying to make sure they meet the accountability guidelines. And admin salaries have gone up. Admins can negotiate their salaries and move around. Teacher salaries aren't negotiable, but an admin can. If someone is good at their job and another district is willing to pay them more why shouldn't they be able to do what folks in industry can? It's the market at work. I'm sure there are lousy admins in this state, but the ones I know aren't. They work very hard, are on call 24/7 in addition to being at school related functions 3-4 nights out of the week. Most also are marketable outside of the school system and field other job offers.

Anonymous said...

There it is in black and white, that is why Int. 42 needs to be voeted down. And that my friends, is the bottom line!

Anonymous said...

Well, this would explain why so many people are scrambling to get jobs in our district's central office. It also explains why administrators in our district do not disclose their salaries. There's a reason they don't want the "little people" to know how much they make. Isn't this public record, Kingfish?
...and if administrators in my district are sending emails (on school time/on school equipment) to show us how to vote in favor of 42 then my good sense tells me to vote against it.
Rubes. The whole lot of them.

Peanut Butter Cookies On Wednesday said...

And Kingfish really needs a PEER report or this dumbass initiative to conclude that teachers have been screwed over for decades, if not a century? Why is he always so damned late to the dance?

Anonymous said...

PBCoW - who's really getting screwed, the teachers or the students? I think the education industrial complex has for gotten their real purpose. I think we can all agree that none of the school districts in Mississippi is being run with any modicum of efficiency or focus on delivering quality instruction. Compliance is important, however school districts must learn to leverage technology on an enterprise basis to reduce the number of non-teacher positions.

Kingfish said...

Go look at Clinton's numbers. They hold up very well. Spend much less per student than most school districts and are an A.

PittPanther said...

2:47pm makes a good point about school systems hiring experts due to educational mandates. My response is however, why? For example, if we have Reading Gates, why can't the current reading teachers be responsible for understanding the rules and developing a teaching model that addresses those rules? Why does every rule change require the engagement of an expensive consultant? Teachers, and especially principals, are highly educated people used to studying. They can't sit down for a few days in the summer, read the new rules, and develop plans that address these new rules? Instead they hire a consultant to tell them what to do.

How about a moratorium on education consultants? Most principals have either an MS or PhD in education, which means they're qualified to do this analysis and implementation work themselves.

Anonymous said...

9:44 - great idea, even a summer conference with working groups would be a great way to eliminate all of the spending on consultants and establish enterprise-wide, common sense compliance solutions and strategies. Additionally, a moratorium that is long enough to assess the effectiveness an propriety of those consulting agreements is a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Unless I'm mistaken, a large number of the "consultants" are retired educators, double dipping their way to retirement nirvana. Aren't unions great?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if our public schools would be better off without federal money and just have the state fund them, particularly since federal mandates have created much of the administrative bloat in the school districts.

Speaking of school districts, a step in the right direction would be to reduce the number of districts, because that would help with some of the administrative bloat. Who has the authority to force school district reductions?

Anonymous said...

1:53
Historically, the Legislature (which has never had the stomach for it). Vote to approve 42, and it'll be a Hinds County judge. If the remainder of the State doesn't like that idea, vote against 42.

Anonymous said...

1:10 I agree they are double-dipping but I don't think there's a strong teachers' union in MS, unlike a lot of states. Of course I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

9:44 just because a teacher knows what to do doesn't mean they have the time to do it. Third graders passed the reading proficiency test because struggling students were in most cases pulled out of class/kept outside of school hours/came in the summer for intensive one on one, or very small group tutoring. Classroom teachers can't do that without abandoning the other 27 children in their classroom. School districts stripped funding from other places in order to be able to afford that. Hence larger class sizes, not buying textbooks, buses and so on. I don't know if anyone has a guess on the dollar amount statewide that cost, but it was far more than the money appropriated which was largely to hire literacy tutors. Literacy tutors who really didn't exist so you have a whole bunch of people going out into schools who have an elementary ed background, but who never actually taught a student to read. (That is a great morale booster to a classroom teacher to have someone coming in to tell them how to do their job when that person has never actually done it, but did sit through five days of training so now they are an expert. But, hey the Governor can claim it a success so lets not get fussy about the details.) It would be great if we trusted teachers to teach and gave them the time and resources to do it. Clinton is a great school system, but their demographic is entirely different than much of the state. Where you have well educated citizens of at least a middle class demographic your school districts are better. Those scenarios represent a small percentage of our districts statewide. Poverty matters. It is tough to overcome the baggage that brings into a classroom. New teachers will come in for a few years, but when they begin to have families their goals change and they want their children to be in a high performing district. So, districts like Clinton, Oxford, Tupelo, Petal, Madison and so on will always be able to attract higher quality teachers. There is little incentive to teach in a low performing district where there is constant pressure to turn water into wine. Salary is one thing, but the biggest (IMO) issue is the lack of respect for the profession. Being called inadequate, lazy, and overpaid on a regular basis by your community and leaders is no cakewalk. We've acted as if teachers have no other employment options. Well, most of them do and we are starting to see what happens when they walk out of the door.

Anonymous said...

Exactly 2:28
They walk out the door, become highly paid consultants, siphon off as much public money as is humanly possible and don't have to deal with the "unacceptable" demographic. Sweet deal for them. Screw the a-hole kids. I'll bet your shoulder gets dislocated, patting yourself on the back as you do. Soooo impressive. Vote NO on 42.

Setting Goober Straight said...

"Unless I'm mistaken, a large number of the "consultants" are retired educators, double dipping their way to retirement nirvana. Aren't unions great?

There is no double dipping in the case of a retiree who becomes a consultant. It's simply a retired person taking a part time job. Why would you have a problem with that? It's not unusual for a teacher to retire at $1650 collars a year. What problem do you have if that person chooses or has to take part time work? By the way, it's his or her business, not yours or mine or the state's.

And, no, there is no 'teacher's union' in Mississippi. While they can opt to pay dues to MEA, if they like, they are not represented, there is no collective bargaining, no grievance procedure as set forth in union contracts, no union contract, no representation during or post disciplinary hearings and no job protection.

Bark your bitch up another tree.

bill said...

2:28 is right. We need to trust the teachers and give them the tools to do their jobs. Unfortunately, a uniform funding formula leaves the teachers out of the process. Kill 42, repeal MAEP and let our elected representatives work with our teachers and administrators to figure out a better way.

Anonymous said...

Our model for secondary education is too industrial. Our schools should be more localized and smaller. No big lunchrooms, bus fleets, gyms, stadiums, and massive parking lots. Just a dozen teachers, a playground, a library and the office. Let the kids eat their moma's food. The concentration would be on learning the basics. If kids parents want football, band, or art--let them hire the extra-curricula staff themselves. The public education system is a racket---that is why spending is never on instruction. Instruction is not the purpose. Its team sports. Its contracts. Its day care for teens. Its jobs for those who split hair over policies and regulations. Its social welfare. Call it what it is--adult politics.

Setting Goober Straight Edits... said...

Sorry....edit: "It's not unusual for a teacher to retire with 30 years at $1650 a month."

People who retire from local manufacturing plants with pension plans retire at more. Turn your damned caps around people. A teacher has as much right as anybody else to retire and take a part time job, even as a consultant. Don't most people find work in fields with which they are familiar? One would hope so.

Anonymous said...

2:28 - Being "trained" by folks who have little to no experience, or haven't had boots on the ground in years, is pretty normal in most sectors. Teaching isn't the only profession dealing with it.

You said "Poverty matters." It sure does, but much like education, we've been told for years how more programs costing more money is the way out. 50 years of War on Poverty and look what we have to show for it. Has the casino tax money greatly changed the quality of education in Tunica County or are they still failing? The culture the impoverished embrace is more the trap than poverty itself. It's true all over the country whether it's whites, blacks or any others.

Anonymous said...

Check out www.seetheschoolspending.com and do a little research on your school district. I know what you're gonna say - the Mississippi Center for Public Policy is a (insert troll terminology here), but the data are the data...

someoneinnorthms said...

In Lafayette County, the peer pressure is upward. Students are expected to do well--by parents, teachers, and fellow students. One doesn't seem to find those same expectations in many other school districts. Until students are expected to do well, you can count on the fact that they won't.

I suppose it's my "grand unified theory" of society's ills, but we've been treating children as commodities since the Johnson War on Poverty began. This phenomenon was exacerbated by Roe. I'm probably injecting extraneous commentary into this thread, but, as I see it, no amount of money given to a school system can overcome the lack of concern from a parent.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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