Thursday, March 1, 2012

Figures don't lie, but...

 Click to enlarge (if you can handle the truth)

Well, I knew the Amherst school system was pretty weak with math, but this is ridiculous.

Rather than use the actual dollar amount of $697.73 vs. state average of $445.97 or a difference of $252.76 per student (57% higher!) for presenting administration costs, the Amherst Regional School Committee was shown an overall percentage figure of the Region's total spending instead (4.03%), which averages a whopping $17,144 per student vs. state average of $13,055.

Or if you prefer percentages, a whopping 31% over state average.

When Rick Hood ran his yacht factory, if his labor costs were on average 31% higher than a competitor, it's hardly reassuring that administration costs were--as a percentage of total spending--average, because that means the actual dollar amount spent on administration would still be 31% higher than it should be.

Simply put, the $251.76 extra per child in current administration cost over state average, times 1,545 regional students comes out to an extra annual administration cost of $388,969.20! 

The real reason for such high admin costs

 The Amherst Bulletin "reports"

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Creative accounting, pure and simple.

LarryK said...

Shocking thing is nobody on the School Committee picked it up. And even more shocking, that Rick Hood ran with it. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

I think Larry's is the creative accounting.

Anonymous said...

It is clear administrators are seeking to justify the level of administrative expenditures in our District.

Until I read the complete report it is impossible to evaluate Ms. Geryk's assertions.  However, the study Geryk trumpets is an internal one. 
Residents need to know what costs have been included as administrative costs and what have been attributed to "other" categories.  Until such analysis is applied the administrative story about the budget remains hypothesis.  The mortgage crisis suggests why ARPS, like any agency, needs independent oversight.  

Here is what we do know:
 • The Gazette has reported is that Amherst has over 20 administrators earning over $85k per year. 
•  Amherst has the highest paid Superintendent in Western MA.
•  Our cost per student is above the state average and over 40% greater than Northampton, a community with similar demographics and student body size, and well above every other district in our area.
• Amherst is nothing like Concord Massachusetts where the median household income in 2009 was $123,105, and median house value was $726,000. (http://www.city-data.com/city/Concord-Massachusetts.html)  Comparing Amherst to Concord Carlisle is misleading and suggests other judgments made in this report may be suspect.

Michael Aronson - candidate for SC

Anonymous said...

That figure immediately stood out to me as really hard to believe...glad it's being looked into.

Mr. Aronson, you just got my vote.

Dale said...

The funniest part is, I'd be willing to bet many times when they review these numbers, each person makes them so convoluted that they don't even understand them internally. How can they possibly expect the general public to digest this? I would support it wholeheartedly if everyone would just clean it up to layman's terms and start running like a business, rather than a personal challenge to smoke and mirror it to death so as to make it acceptable. If you do that you will get much more public support and less people like myself always wondering "WHY" all the time.

LarryK said...

Transparency is a good thing.

Makes you wonder why public officials (and even some private businesses) hate it so?

frustrated parent said...

the reasons adminstrative costs are so high: the district...

1) hired an independent math expert to evaluate our math program, then ignored all his recommendations...
2) hired a former music teacher as a curriculum director, who evaluated math programs, developed a complicated math plan and decided to keep the old, failing elementary math program....
3) then the district decided she would no longer work on curriculum -- but kept her to stay on top of the...
3) newly hired pack of math coaches to teach teachers how to teach math...
4) then hired two more central office adminstrators with odd titles, but no job description...
5) and so on, as math scores decline for many children.

No one is accountable or evaluated except our students.

Anonymous said...

It's really not that complicated.
What they've done is take a Mercedes Maybach ($375,000)and parked it next to a Honda Civic ($20,000).
Then, they've stated that since the Mercedes' radio cost 1% of its list price, and the Civic's radio cost 1% of its list price, the costs are comparable.
Is this a logical comparison? Of course not.
For this information to be presented as meaningful comparative data is disingenuous at worst, incompetent at best. We won't even mention the ripples of celebration it caused on the other side of the table.
What the School Committee should be asking is:
What the hell is a Mercedes Maybach doing in our driveway?
and
Why can't this particular Maybach get to the grocery store and back without breaking down?
For the members of that committee to be spending a moment on any other subject is an affront to every citizen of Amherst who twice yearly ships big checks off to town hall.

Anonymous said...

What is "instructional leadership"?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:53,

Why are you asking Larry what instructional leadership - why not send an email to Maria Geryk and ask her?

Anonymous said...

Today's gazette has Beth Graham listed as the director of Curriculum and instruction. Even the newspaper can't keep track of the revolving door that is our administration.

Anonymous said...

Surrender to the jargon and lack of transparency with our schools.

What is "instructional leadership"?

Whatever we need to say to make you go away.

Anonymous said...

You people are IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Aronson, you also have my vote. Ali

Anonymous said...

In Amherst the administrative expenses are higher than average by just under $400K. But the payments to out of district schools works is much lower than average -it's not clear what that means (our schools are so wonderful that few students leave?) but the "savings" there is also about $400K (maybe a little more than the administrative expenses about which you complain).

Please explain, dear Larry...!

LarryK said...

Why don't you ask school administrators; they have a unique talent for such things.

Anonymous said...

I thought the superintendent and principals were instructional leaders. Is this a new category? I don't recall seeing it before? Are instructional leaders counted as administrators?

The Ponziville Karma Show said...

"When Rick Hood ran his yacht factory..."


Ran it???



Ran it into the ground you mean.


In six god damned years!

Anonymous said...

Those who asketh tough questions shall be made to knuckleth under to the ways things are and will be under Maria and the Central Office.

This is how it is and forever shall be.

If you want things to make sense, try crosswords.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you for reporting this. And note that the figures were supplied by the Superintendent's assistant.

Anonymous said...

This is one school system that has administrators administrating to the administrators and so on, and so on, and so on... There have been administrative positions created out of no where. New positions every year~or perhaps they wait a year in between. Assistant principals, when only one principal ran the school a while back. Therapeutic teachers and psychologists in every school and they, of course, all have assistants who have aides. Positions that simply never existed. I mean are we sending our children to school or to mental asylums? And lets not forget the guidance counselors~Talk about nonessential staff!

Anonymous said...

~So this is where the savings went when they closed marks Meadow!