18 April 2005

There's Always More Where That Came From...

DCPS may or may not spend more per pupil than most school districts (it depends on how you parse the numbers), but one thing's for sure: it doesn't really spend it on the pupils. Or the teachers. Or the school buildings themselves. Or the classroom materials. However, DCPS sure does know how to spend that money on the central office. As reported on the DC Education Blog and sourced in part from the Washington Times (yeah I know a right wing rag, but they cover education in DC a lot more than the Post -- even if their take on public education is that it's a cover for Marxist indoctrination), there's no shortage of funding when it comes time for administrators to come to the trough. Sure, the schools have to cut personnel "to make up for teacher pay increases," but apparently no one is worried about Dr. Janney's "special assistant to the superintendant" Robert Rice, who's making a cool $175K -- not bad considering that only a year ago a position with a similar title earned $52K. Of course it's easy to single out one egregious example of cronyism and mismanagement and pretend you have a case. Fortunately, DCPS makes sure to supply multiple examples of poor management and cronyism so you can make your case a number of ways. After all, there's the Board of Education's executive director, Russell A. Smith, whose pay went from $105,040 last year to $115,090 this year. That's an increase of 9% -- not bad for keeping track of one of the most dysfunctional school boards around.

In fact, it seems there's no shortage of $100K+ earners in DCPS administration. That fraud George Will, in one of his faux erudite columns, recently championed some crackpot's idea that legislation should be passed to demand that school districts spend 65% of their budget on instruction. Will's nutty idea is that teacher unions would object to this idea, apparently because they're so chummy with school administrations (Will has apparently never been near a teacher strike or a faculty room). Never mind that Will's pet bill died quickly once people realized that support personnel, like nurses, librarians, security guards, etc., were likely to be cut by the proposal.

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