Solution to MMSD Budget Mystery #4: Body Count or 1-2-3 FTE

Congratulations to Roger Price, MMSD assistant superintendent, for completing the table with the FTE (full time equivalent) positions for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, i.e., last year compared to this year.
If you open the Excel file, you’ll see some potentially surprising figures. Unlike the reports, total FTEs for this school year compared to 2004-2005 did not decrease by the threatened 131 positions. The total fell by 90.
You can also see that some job categories actually increased. Food service staff increased by 10 FTEs. The increase seems odd when MMSD enrollment declined this year, presumably meaning the MMSD will prepare and serve fewer meals.
Unspecified “Supervisors” increased by 2.95 FTEs, while “administrators” fell by 2.0 FTEs. Does that mean “downtown” staff actually rose by .95 FTE?
School psychologists and social workers took the largest percentage hit at 12.2%.
I’ve been urging the board to use year-to-year comparisons during budget deliberations, and this table provides an excellent example of why. That is to say, no one during any budget deliberation even mentioned the increase in food service staff. The administration gave no justification; the board asked no questions.
With the comparative information in the table, which the board did not have during the budget process, some board member might have asked whether the budget should increase the number of food service workers while decreasing the number of school psychologists and social workers.
In the coming budget process, I hope that the board asks for an update of the table with a column added for the FTEs under a balanced budget for 2006-2007 . . . before they vote on a budget.