For the benefit of those who think I haven't contributed enough to the budget discussion, I have created a review below of the many budget posts that I have written in the past four months. At least one Supervisor read my most recent budget post but commented to me that s/he would need more than that one to be convinced. Well citizens, feast upon the following and then use the links at right to write to your representatives on the Board of Supervisors and tell them what you think of plans to cut the LCPS budget even more deeply than the previous Board did.
Click here for the printable version.
February 25: “The leanest central office I’ve ever seen.”
Critics of the recently submitted school budget feel that too much money is spent on administrative salaries, which, in turn, causes rising Loudoun taxes.
Leibowitz said, "This administrative structure is bare-boned. It's the leanest central office I've ever seen.
February 16: Administrative Costs & Textbooks
“93.1 percent of LCPS' employees are school-based, the highest percentage of school-based personnel among districts in the metropolitan area, according to the D.C. Washington Area Boards of Education Guide” You'll also see in the numbers that about 3% of our budget goes to Administration, while 79.8% goes to Instruction.
February 7, 2008: Teacher Salaries (concisely)
Our teacher salaries are set based on that free market, not as a moral judgment of how much someone deserves to be paid. When I consider the challenge and importance of the work that teachers do and the impact it has on the future of our world, I think they should be paid much more (same for law enforcement, firefighters, military and other public safety personnel), but no society has ever though it could afford to pay public employees according to the importance and risk associated with their jobs.
February 2, 2008: Four Good Questions
Realizing economy of scale is important and at LCPS, the number of administrators has steadily declined over the years in comparison to the number of students. While the student population has grown 141% in the past ten years, the number of administrators has grown only 90%. Of the ten DC-area public school districts, only the City of Manassas has a higher percentage of school-based personnel.
January 29, 2008: Self-Sufficiency Standard
"Everyone who works a full-time job should be paid enough to meet basic needs without help from family, friends or the government.”
January 13, 2008: Anatomy of a decision
In an $800 million dollar budget, there’s only so many $20K items you can have time to go over with a fine toothed comb. This is the nature of a large institution and you can’t pin that on LCPS. It’s the same at every large corporation and government organization I’ve ever worked at, with the US Military topping the list.
January 13, 2008: Budget Amendments Complete
While we cut back new school office staff, new technology and raises for our substitute teachers we added full-day kindergarten at four schools, gave a tech boost to our poorest schools, rolled back a school lunch price increase and started thinking in a new way about how we determine the appropriate starting pay for our custodians.
January 7, 2008: Budget Amendments Underway
We approved without amendment the following relatively small areas of the budget:
- School Board
- Superindentent's Office
- Deputy Superindentent's Office
- Public Information Office
- Planning & Legislative Services
All of this constitutes less than 1 percent of the budget. The total, by my calculations, is $5,889,881. It is an increase of 1.46% over the FY08 Appropriation. All of these offices combined have a total of 26.8 FTEs, and no new employees were added this year.
January 3, 2008: FY09 Growth and Funding
A reasonable person would then ask "Why does LCPS have an increase so much higher than the rate of inflation?" Here's why.
January 2, 2008: Budget Tools and Indicators
Cost per pupil: This is the big metric that everybody looks to, as if all the answers were in this one number. In FY08 our cost is $12,751 per student. This is 6th out of the 10 metro DC jurisdictions. Prince William, Prince George and Manassas spend less.
December 16, 2007: Weekend Education News
Since the School Board hasn't even yet voted on the budget, it is premature to suggest that we're bickering with the Supervisors over it. We all understand that this is going to be a tough year, and we're all going to do our best to work out the best possible budget for the kids and the county.
December 13, 2007: AP Fees & Budget Cuts
In the midst of the difficult choices that both Boards will need to make about tax rates, class sizes and what creates educational excellence, some School Board members are eyeing the AP fee payments, particularly for the many students from affluent families, as a potential target for savings. What do you think?
December 6, 2008: Budget Immersion
It is, officially, the "Superintendent's proposed budget," and before it gets to us it has been through his own vetting process. What it really reflects though is the work of at least a couple of hundred people, from principals and other school-level staff to supervisors and directors with the help of specialists and secretaries and up to the senior staff. To a person each member of the staff demonstrate a very clear command of their area of responsibility. I'm sure that they've had to justify each line item at multiple levels before they get to us, we're just the last so maybe they've warmed up by then.
November 30, 2007: Capital Improvement Plan
Did you notice that there was just one school bond on this year's ballot? That will be the last time that happens for quite a while. We need more schools, folks. We're packed to the gills. Most schools in growing areas are over capacity and the problem just gets worse in the coming years.
Only one speaker came to the public hearing held on the CIP on Tuesday, eighth-grader Katie Stevenson, who pressed us to build a Humanities Academy.
October 11, 2007: Cost Per Pupil
In the past 10 years, overall spending has increased by 92%, an average of 6.8% per year. In the most recent budget our cost per pupil increased only 1.56%.