The Norman Transcript

Opinion

July 6, 2014

Misleading statistics make schools look bad

NORMAN — Editor, The Norman Transcript:

Once again the Norman Transcript has used as a main story someone writing what appears to be designed to make schools and school administrators look bad, and which uses misleading statistics instead of real facts to make points.

Your Sunday, June 29, 2014 front page article “Are Oklahoma Schools top-heavy?” by Nate Robson of Oklahoma Watch does a poor job of arguing that Oklahoma ranks high in administrative costs due to a “high percent” spent on “administrative costs.” Well “gee whiz” if you put much less money in a school then you will skew the percentages. Let’s talk real dollars.

A case in point would be two extremely similar schools: Konawa Public Schools in Oklahoma with an enrollment of 700 students and Southeast of Saline USD 306 of Kansas with 710 students. The budget of Konawa is $5,010,763.80.

The amount spent on the nationwide code of 2300 or General Administration, or running the central office, was $194,476.50. This was for a superintendent, three clerks, and a federal programs/treasurer.

For southeast of Saline, we find the budget was $7,908,842.00. This was nearly three million dollars more. They spent for General Administration $365,580.00. This was for a staff of six persons doing much the same work as Konawa’s five.

Having worked in both states, I can assure you that he federal work loads are much the same and the state bureaucracy loads that schools must respond to are higher in Oklahoma. Oklahoma offices are understaffed. And only a realistic survey of what persons are included in each schools coding will reveal true costs of administration at the central office level. Some schools include Transportation Directors, Parent Liaisons, Curriculum Directors, Food Service Directors, and other such persons in those costs.

If both of the schools noted here were to put Mr. Robson’s 3.2 percent into general administration the amounts would be: Konawa $160,344.44 and Southeast of Saline $253,082.94. You can see Southeast spends considerably more than Konawa on administration.

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