Yes, it is time to break out my tired, old analogy for DCSS "Central Office" once again. This time, I'm featuring Mrs. Potato Head due to Title 9 considerations and because we have a new, interim Superintendent who is also of the "fairer sex."
Additionally, the word on the street was that there has been some quiet house-cleaning going on since she took office. With some diligent and simple key performance indicator analysis, we should be able to see the impact to the "bottom line" each year. Let's hope Mrs. Potato Head is helping Mr. Potato Head drop a few pounds in all the right places!
As I did last year, I downloaded the DCSS salaries reported by State of Georgia "Transparency in Government" web site to attempt to come up with a "Central Office-to-School House" ratio based on the job titles. Even with the help of Ella Smith, life-long public educator, this was a daunting task due the number and vagueness of the DCSS titles.
The good news this year is that the number of reported titles has fallen to 149 from 181 and I have devised a method for all readers of this blog to help with the accuracy of job titles classification as "Central Office" or "In School." For me, anyone who does not actually work in a school house has to be lumped into "Central Office." Sorry bus drivers and other providers of essential services - still not "In School!"
I have posted the spreadsheet as a Google Doc online and notified the editors of this blog how they can update the job title classifications to help us get an more accurate picture. The benchmark we documented for 2008 salaries was 24.987% of salaries went to "Central Office" titles and we'll see what we get this year for 2009 in a team effort.
If you want to participate in the review of job title classifications, simply download this spreadsheet (required MS Excel 97 or later or OpenOffice Calc) and post job title classification changes in the comments of this post. With all the teachers and other employees of DCSS lurking here, I hope this will give us a clear picture of which job titles are actually in school houses versus elsewhere.
You will also find in the spreadsheet workbook a third tab that contains three years of DCSS summary expenditures from the Georgia DOE. This is data that pscexb pointed out last year as available and I wanted to bring it back updated to the table for discussion. While I do see that "General Administration" has dropped during the past year, I also see a drop in instructional spending - less than ideal.
I would love to keep seeing General Administrative costs go down while maintaining instructional spending. We'll also need to watch the Maintenance Operations expense to see if it can be reduced. After all, as more newly renovated or constructed buildings come online I would hope our maintenance expenses would take a downturn. And, if our BOE and Superintendent get serious about consolidation and re-districting, we should see these maintenance expenses decline for many years to come as our Byzantine collection of properties declines.
I think that watching the numbers is something that this blog can do annually. Personally, I think DCSS should be posting this type of management analysis as part of their governance and fiduciary responsibility. It isn't that hard to come up with a few key performance indicators and disseminate them. For now, take a look at the job titles in these reports and post to the comments when you spot a job title you know to be "In School" and I'll update the spreadsheet.
When were done with our exercise in a few days, I'll update this post with the completed data and a ratio. Let's make this an annual Christmas tradition as our gift to DeKalb County residents. Merry Christmas!