The Clark County School District is seeking a property tax increase to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. They claim this property tax increase is for school building maintenance and upgrades (some of these buildings were updated about a decade ago).
I'm calling Shenanigans on the school district... again.
The real reason: they can't afford the salary and benefits they unwisely increased as the state fell into the recession. Digging through the school district's budget I discovered that salary and benefits increased from 47.5 percent of total expenditures during the 2006-07 school year to over 63 percent today. Next year's budget projects salary and benefits will consume over 66 percent of the budget.
Source: Clark County School District: http://ccsd.net/departments/budget-finance-department/publications
Two out of every three dollars is now spent on salary and benefits. That is not necessarily a problem, but since we are talking about the Clark County School District - where less than half of all employees are teachers - it's a major problem (See the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Budget page 23 and 61). For 2012-13, the District projects a total of 27,370 FTE Employees (full-time equivalent employees. Of that, just 13,596 FTE are classroom teachers (49.7 percent).*
For the record, CCSD's general operating fund is down just 1.7 percent since 2006-07 (yes, adjusted for inflation to 2012 dollar values). The overall budget is down 7.9 percent over that same time. A good portion of that decline is in capital expenditures (which includes building new schools and renovating "old" schools).
However, salary and benefits are NOT down over that same time. In fact, CCSD spends 23.5 percent MORE on salary and benefits today than it did in 2006-07. And yes, that is even after adjusting for inflation. For 2012-13, the school district will be spending an average of $77,155 in salary and benefits PER employee (FTE). Adjusting for inflation that is $6,072.09 more per employee than during the 2008-09 school year (latest available data online).
It's good to be
the king! employed by the government!
Yes, despite the continued recession CCSD is spending more PER employee too (8.5 percent more than four years ago)! Devastating salary cuts to employees are a myth.
The bulk of this salary and benefit spending increase occurred in the 2007-08 school year. I believe this to be due to a massive salary and benefits increase that was negotiated by the District and the union. Not only was that salary and benefits increase irresponsible, it is imprudent to try to maintain those increases at the expense of actual education (especially when so many employees aren't even teachers).
With a $3.1 billion annual budget, the school district doesn't need or deserve your money. The school district needs to learn how to responsibly spend the money they already have. One solution would be to stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on non classroom personnel. Over half of all school districts in Michigan now use private contractors to provide food service, transportation and or custodial services. To date, they have saved hundreds of millions of dollars. CCSD could also use private contractors for school maintenance (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, HVAC repair) and grounds-keeping as well.
Think about it, the district can barely educate and graduate students (its primary function) so why do the district's leaders also think they will be good at mowing lawns, preparing nutritious meals and repairing air conditioners?
Instead of operating like
* NOTE: the District labels them as "classroom instructors" which does not mean ALL of them are actual full-time teachers. The actual number of full-time teachers is lower.