Cutting and Adding Administrators in the Chicago Public Schools

Ben Joravsky:

The Chicago Public Schools is a system so broke it can’t afford sophomore sports, wants assistant coaches to work for free, and has summoned hundreds of teachers to the principal’s office to let them know they’ll be laid off over the summer. But it can still afford to pay 133 central office officials more than $100,000 a year.
That’s what budget reform looks like to schools CEO Ron Huberman.
About two months ago, when Huberman and the Board of Education cut sophomore sports, they said the district, roughly $900 million in the red, could only afford to let freshmen, juniors, and seniors play after-school sports–even after laying off dozens of well paid administrators.
It irked me that a city so rich it could afford to shower subsidies on profitable corporations such as United Airlines and MillerCoors to the tune of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars couldn’t afford to let sophomores play.
So I decided to do a little digging. After spending hours plowing through the 350-page 2009-2010 CPS budget, I discovered that contrary to cutting wages at the central office, Huberman and the board had given raises to scores of top bureaucrats.

Ruth Robarts classic bears a visit: Annual Spring Four Act Play: Madison School’s Budget Process.

One thought on “Cutting and Adding Administrators in the Chicago Public Schools”

  1. Not surprising, but also not unique in American business. When discussions occur concerning administrative staffing at schools (which is often), supposed charities skimming 90% of donations to feed their staff and for overhead, and other inefficiencies (“diseconomies of scale”), I’m reminded of an article I only remember generally which described the burgeoning increase in salaries, golden parachutes, numbers of manager-types in American institutions as opposed to increasing the numbers and effectiveness of those people who actually do the work.
    That is, the article indicates that administrative and overhead growth has been the most significant characteristic of American business/industry over the last 30 years.
    I have tried to find this article again, but have been unsuccessful. I believe it was related to the seminal work “Relevance Lost: The Fall and Rise of Management Accounting” by Thomas Johnson and Robert Kaplan.
    I’m sure, if I could trace back to this study, and find updated information on these matters, it would help place these school issues into a perspective that illustrates this economic disease that is plaguing the schools as well as other American institutions.

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