Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Rising Tide?


The Amherst Regional Public Schools must be feeling the heat over their high average per student cost ($18,026 vs state average of $13,636) as this morning they issued a  link to a blog post rationalizing their high cost of administration, which of course contributes to the high average per pupil cost.

Interesting that they blame the evil state and all those "reports to Department of Elementary and Secondary and Education" which of course "are not optional."  Okay fair enough, the state is fairly anal with statistics and reports.

But they are probably fair-and-balanced enough to require such things from ALL public schools in the state. 

So why then is ARPS 60% over state average with "administration" costs of $789 per pupil while state average from all the other schools dealing with DESE reports is only $471 per pupil?

Either ARPS has too many administrators, or the perfect number they have are paid too much

16 comments:

Walter Graff said...

I chucked when I read Ms. Geryk's "report" labeled "reorganization".

Victim mentality is a blame game. Being impeccable is about doing.

About 20 years ago I was part of a presentation. Three speakers were given a subject to discuss. One of those speakers was the then CEO of Verizon. His topic was how Verizon had been accomplishing great internal efficiency.

In Verizon nomenclature, the term "switch" is used to denote the hand off of an order for phone service. So if you want your phone service turned on, it takes X number of people to process and accomplish that task (switches).

The CEO began his discussion talking about how Verizon had been able to maintain efficiency while not having to hire. His example? In his time as CEO the number of switches (people it takes to turn on one phone order) had been reduced from 120 to 80. Needless to say the room chuckled. 80 humans are needed to turn on one person's phone service? Simply ridiculous.

Like any business, efficiency is often desired but the methods of accomplishing it are often never realized.

It's not easy processing and maintaining records in this litigious society but I'm sure if Ms. Geryk had a more robust background in management, she could find a way to make her system far more efficient than it is now. Perhaps asking her staff to brainstorm ways of making things more efficient from their perspective and asking what they would like to see done to eliminate waste would be a good tool.

There are 24 hours in a day. Some people say there is never enough time in a day. Others don't seem to have problems. I wonder why given the same number of hours two people can have such a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

It's not easy processing and maintaining records in this litigious society but I'm sure if Ms. Geryk had a more robust background in management, she could find a way to make her system far more efficient than it is now.

Perhaps if she had less things to hide, she wouldn't have to be so worried about keeping them hidden.

Kinda like how keeping two sets of books is more work than keeping just one...

Dr. Ed said...

I suspect most folk know that I am neither a fan of Mitchell Chester nor of what Deval Patrick has done to Education in this Commonwealth.

I suspect most folk know that there is a serious philosophical difference between myself and Team Maria. Mitchell Chester and Deval Patrick are on Team Maria's side of the debate, and they are the ones who are becoming increasingly anal in their reporting requirements.

Hence the irony -- she's complaining about the consequences of her own philosophy of education...

And if you think this is bad, if Common Core is fully implemented, it will get a lot worse...

Anonymous said...

I am curious how our schools' student to central office administrator ratio has changed in the last 10+ years.

The number of central administrators has dropped by 1(going from 14 in 2002-03 to 13 for 2014-15), a decrease of 7%.

Looking at the population numbers, the number of students in our Amherst elementary schools (including school choice-in students) has declined 24%, and the number of students at the MS & HS combined (including school choice-in students) has declined about 27%.

and it's not just about the number of administrator bodies but administrator salaries as well. It would be interesting to see the change in the central office administrator cost per student during over the past decade. The district's blog post doesn't mention anything about costs.

plus aren't some of the "reports" that are required by the state just one-page forms or less?

Anonymous said...

Didn't we have an outside study done a couple years back that came to some conclusions about why our per student costs are high?

Anonymous said...

Actually Maria Geryk didn't write this "report", one of her very secretive co-conspirators did, Carol Learned-Miller.

You could email her directly with your criticisms at her Smith College email address, or respond on the blog where the post was published.

Walter, do you recognize that your attitude toward the schools and the town demonstrate a "victim mentality"?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps asking her staff to brainstorm ways of making things more efficient from their perspective and asking what they would like to see done to eliminate waste would be a good tool.

Brilliant Walter! Why hasn't the superintendent ever thought of this?

Anonymous said...

"Didn't we have an outside study done a couple years back that came to some conclusions about why our per student costs are high?"
Yes, for Elementary:
http://www.arps.org/workspaces/one.aspx?objectid=1127725&contextId=1127720

Walter Graff said...

"Walter, do you recognize that your attitude toward the schools and the town demonstrate a "victim mentality"?"


Sorry I am not victim of circumstance and don't have a victim mentality. I don't let other people or the events and circumstances of my life control my future.

Unfortunately it is not as simple to give my children a better place to learn, as many parents are now doing, especially with this years soon to be realized withdrawal of students from Amherst. If I could switch tomorrow I would. Perhaps someday soon but right now I do my best to make up what is lacking for my children in a poorly run system like many other parents I speak to.

History and decisions made show that Amherst seems to work from fear. The school system has a hard time taking responsibility for themselves, their actions, mistakes, and even their own decisions. As a result it is a system that works from a victim mentality as being a victim requires giving up of most, if not all, personal responsibility. From Geryk to Shh-bazz, no one in any position of power seems to take any responsibility for anything.

These leaders response to each moment's occurrence, circumstance, situation, event, scenario is what defines them. A step in the right direction would be one simple sentence, "I made a mistake" or "I spoke incorrectly". That would be a first and welcome step to repairing the damage.


Anonymous said...

Sucks for you, man. Hope your life gets better.

Like lipstick on a pig said...

This rising tide smells like

low tide, if you ask me.

Now, back to our regularly

scheduled coma.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8tFqUK_xYM


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Ook ook?

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ said...

A little blast from the past.

"Kurt Geryk defending the family said...

Watch

and

learn.

1. High compensation structure for area.

2. Generous benefits structure for area.

3. Comparatively high operations and maintenance.

"...full regionalization or spreading your administrative costs over more students, is going to reduce the appearance of that number..."

The fun begins at 10:00.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYveUzQnJ8I

With lot's of ~am-MAZING~ SC questions at the end of the presentation.


Like taking candy

from ~your~ baby!


CHA ---> $$$ <--- CHING!


Kurt and Maria's loving pet,

Squeaky Squeaks

January 12, 2014 at 10:08 PM"



p.s. Thank ~you~ Bobby D.!

Anonymous said...

I watched the presentation of the report and it went something like this " It is great to see a community so engaged and willing to spend money on education" " our abundance of support staff, higher than the area standard of pay, and committment to SPED are part of the reason Amherst pays so much "

There is no magic here. We do pay higher than the average for the area and the state. We have low teacher to student ratio's. We have a very robust SPED staff. No one is willing to let anything go and the population is willing to keep paying for it. The unions keep negotiating reasonable increases on top of great pay. So the financial bloat goes on as it will until the community can no longer afford it.

Anonymous said...

What does the yellow ribbon in the window represent? Support for the kids who were victims of racially motivated 3 on 1 assaults, I assume?

Larry Kelley said...

Maybe it's an old oak door.

Anonymous said...

"Old oak door" That's actually pretty funny Larry. It took me a minute but once I got it I got a good chuckle out of it. :)