Let's talk administration, part 1

Ever had questions about the numbers of central administration in Jeffco and whether budget woes might be solved by eliminating a number of those positions?

We have answers. Read on!

First, only 0.46 percent of Jeffco’s budget, approximately $4.6 million, is used to fund senior district administration.

Second, without central district administration, there’s no one to hire school principals, cafeteria managers, no lawyers to look over contracts with construction companies or other businesses. Without district administration, there’s no one for families to turn to if they are unhappy with the principal. There’s no one to handle threat assessments or to monitor students on safety plans.

And there’s no one to put together and track the district budget, no one to pay bills, no one to post budget transparency information on the school website — nor is there anyone to maintain the district website.

Simply put, central district administration exists to take care of the business side of Jeffco Schools. That means handling the finances, reporting school accountability data to the state, figuring out school bus routes, and directing school maintenance work.

District administration also provides a place for families to turn if they don’t feel their student’s needs are being addressed in their school, as well as a place for teachers and principals to turn if their school needs help to address education challenges.

Now, let’s talk salaries. Why can’t the district just cut administration pay in half, or set salary caps?

The answer’s pretty simple: we live in a free market society. With Colorado’s strong economy, quality Jeffco administrators can easily land a better-paying job in Boulder, Denver, or Cherry Creek, just a short drive away.

We’d also note that this has been tried, but the results were dismal. When New Jersey set caps on superintendent pay, more than half of the superintendents left to work in other school districts.

Last we’ve noticed that often, budget numbers are confused for salaries. The numbers in the district budget are not salaries, but total compensation: salary + benefits like health insurance, short-term disability and retirement. Approximately 30 percent of any compensation number in the budget is for benefits, and salary makes up the remaining total.

However, no dollars from 5A will be used for senior district administration. All 5A funding will be focused on making educator salaries more competitive, improving safety and security, and expanding educational programming, including early childhood education. 

But wait — you want to know what "senior district administration" includes? Here's how Superintendent Jason Glass explained it at the Aug. 23 school board meeting:

“None of these funds — none of any tax increase that comes from this [5A] — will be used for senior district administration. That would include our community superintendents, our achievement directors, that would include our executive directors, that would include our cabinet members, and it would include me.”

“We also know our community values these dollars going directly into schools and impacting the students as closely as we can,” Glass said.

Want to know more about administration and what they do? Check out this recent article by Jeffco PEN, and vote YES on 5A & 5B!