In light of the recent revelations that only about 52% of Texas' public education employees are teachers, I decided to look at the staff reports for some of our Williamson County School Districts. (These reports are open records, and available at the Texas Education Agency website.) Here are some of the 'fun facts' I learned about district employees.
The Round Rock Independent School District employs a Music Therapist, an Art Therapist, and 28 Psychologists. In addition, they report 93 counselors. For the 47 Schools, the district has 44 Principals and 82 assistant principals. Although the Superintendent is paid $252, 832 annually ($300,669 in 2010 if you include all benefits and bonuses,) he still seems to require five assistant/associate superintendents, each purportedly with a base pay of $137,085. There are 100 "teacher facilitators," and another 24 "teacher supervisors." There are a total of 179 employees in administration, another 555 "paraprofessional staff" and 1,200 auxiliary staff. I cannot say how essential all these positions are, but considering the staffing, shouldn't teaching positions be the last to be eliminated?
While some of RRISD's staffing might raise a few eyebrows, once again the Leander School District wins the prize for excess. Leander only employs 25 psychologists to Round Rock's 28, but Leander has about 12,000 fewer students. Check out comparisons on some of the other staffing positions:
Round Rock ISD Leander ISD
Students, approximate 43,000 31,000
Educational Diagnosticians 19 22
Occupational Therapists 9 11
Physical Therapists 3 5
Athletic Directors 5 7
Department Heads .25 44.54
I know some of you will insist that art therapists and such are essential to the well-being of our children, but if there aren't enough funds to pay for everything, the last folks we ought to lay off are our teachers. Furthermore, while the Leander district lacks funds to open two newly constructed schools, they sure do seem to have a lot of administrative/support staff positions. Just how necessary are they?
Some other districts in Williamson County are significantly smaller and do not have such flashy titles for non-teaching staff, but have issues as well. Percentage of staff that are teachers:
Georgetown ISD: 50%
Hutto ISD: 52%
Taylor ISD: 42%
Now, I am not naive enough to think merely correcting some of these staffing issues will make up for budget cuts. There are many other areas that districts can cut, and I will continue to highlight them over the next few weeks. This is just one fragment of a bigger picture, and folks, that bigger picture is screaming for reform in the way we allocate and spend education funds. To continue to write a blank check to anything labeled 'education spending' is insanity. Maybe we need more psychologists after all.