Government waste is always something that AFP is working to prevent. Well, the latest out of Oklahoma is that there is a problem with spending in our schools. Instead of spending money in the classrooms, many school districts are wasting tax payer dollars on over-paying and over-staffing school administrations.
One example comes out of western Oklahoma in the Reydon Public Schools. The superintendent in this school system makes $116,000 per year, including benefits, to oversee one of the smallest districts in the state, with just 124 students. That means $936 per student. Now compare that to the $6 per student that the superintendent of the Tulsa public schools makes. There are nearly 2 dozen state superintendents in Oklahoma who make more money than the Governor. Something is clearly off here.
According to recent reports, data collected on administrative and classroom costs showed that Oklahoma spends a high percentage of its budget on district administration and a low percentage on instruction. In fact, Oklahoma spends over the national average on school administration.
By cutting administrative overhead, the additional money could be used in the classrooms. That could mean hiring new teachers or buying new textbooks. This is what our children really need.
Another solution to overspending on administration costs would be to consolidate schools. Efforts to do this have already been made, but it is very difficult for those of us who live in the western part of the state where school districts are sometimes 30 miles apart. Gov. Mary Fallin is already working on making cutting costs easier as well. She signed a bill last month allowing for small districts to voluntarily share costs, such as superintendents, counselors or even teachers.
Perhaps another option for restricting overspending would be to cap the spending allowed. Currently most districts are staying within the cap for administrative costs. Perhaps it is time to lower that cap.
Administrative support in schools is very important, but it is time to take a closer look at how certain changes could save districts a lot of money. Money that could then be spent on the children and their education.