Thursday, June 9, 2011

Part 1 of my analysis of KISD finances vs Mansfield, Irving and Richardson ISD's. I hope I don't get fired...or promoted...it could go either way...

One of the biggest criticisms taxpayers have of school districts is the amount of money spent on the salaries of different categories of employees. I have been known to voice this concern myself.  I am going to use my amateur social science skills and do a PER STUDENT analysis of KISD and 3 other school districts---Mansfield ISD, Irving ISD and Richardson ISD.   I choose Mansfield ISD because the student enrollment is almost identical to KISD and they have a similar feeder school alignment that KISD has--meaning they have an Intermediate School level. I have found this is unique in Region 10 and Region 11, both cover the D/FW Metroplex. I choose Irving and Richardson based on similar student populations as well. I DID NOT look at any specific data before choosing these districts, so I did not cherry-pick districts to obtain any pre-determined outcome.

I am going to look at the student to employee ratio AND the student to employee salary ratio.  Assigning a per student cost relative to salaries makes a cross-district comparison valid.

 In this part I calculate the Student Population-to-Employee Ratio. It is a rough indicator or how many employees a district believes it is necessary to serve the student population. Below you will find the districts and their student populations.

I put screen shots of the data below and the links to the district specific data are below each screen shot. You can go and verify the data your self, if you feel the need. The numbers are from the latest AEIS data from the TEA.

To find the student to employee ratio I took the districts enrollment number and divided it by the number of employees in the particular category.  I highlighted the district that has the more favorable ratio--The higher the number the more students this employee "serves". Now, this could be good or bad depending on how you perceive it. Presumably, the higher the ratio the more cost effective this employee is. Again, relative, but when talking about "fiscal responsibility" (as opposed to "educational responsibility") it is an important indicator.

Student Populations for the school districts:

Keller ISD--31,450
Mansfield ISD---31,614
Irving ISD--33,563
Richardson ISD---34,736

1. Total Student to Total Staff Ratio (Student Population/Total Staff)
Keller = 8.94 students per total staff member
Mansfield = 8.43 students per total staff member
Irving = 7.80 students per total staff member
Richardson = 7.33 students per total staff member

2. Total Student Population to Teacher Staff Ratio (Student Population/Total Teachers)

Keller = 16.11 students per teacher
Mansfield = 16.39 students per teacher
Irving = 13.82 students per teacher
Richardson = 13.88 students per Teacher

3. Total Student Population to Professional Staff Ratio (Student Population/Professional Staff)
Keller = 88.09 students per professional support member
Mansfield = 119.75 students per professional support member
Irving = 103.91 students per professional support member
Richardson = 57.98 students per professional support member

4. Total Student Population to Campus Administration Ratio (Student Population /Total Campus Admin)

Keller = 308 students per campus administrators
Mansfield = 295
Irving = 277
Richardson = 274

5. Total Student Population to Central Administration

Keller = 898.57 students per central administrator
Mansfield = 987.93 students per central administrator
Irving = 621.54 students per central administrator
Richardson = 807.81 students per central administrator

6. Total Student Population to Educational Aides

Keller = 111.92
Mansfield = 103.99
Irving = 74.91
Richardson = 110.27

7. Total Student Population to Auxiliary Staff

Keller = 40.01 students per auxiliary staff
Mansfield = 28.37 students per auxiliary staff
Irving = 28.37 students per auxiliary staff
Richardson = 30.33 students per auxiliary staff


For Keller ISD some good and some bad.  The glaring negatives are numbers 3 and 5. Mansfield ISD ratios are higher so you would expect their costs to be lower. But are they?  For that we will have to now look at the salaries each district pays for the positions examined above.  The data directly below is for the numbers calculated above. Scroll down past these to get to the second part...

KELLER ISD

MANSFIELD ISD



IRVING ISD



RICHARDSON ISD



The second part of this analysis is to take the per student information from above and use it to calculate the per student dollar amount that the particular category of employee costs taxpayers.  I am only going to use the categories of employees that are, in general, the most expensive and the ones that are the target of most criticism.  Here are the salaries for the 4 school districts...I will meet you down the screen...:)  

Keller ISD
 


Mansfield ISD
 


Irving ISD




Richardson ISD

1. Student cost per Teaching position. Take the salary and divide it by the student per teacher ratio.

Keller = $51,060/16.11 students per teacher = $3,169.45 per student
Mansfield = $51,411/16.39 students per teacher = $3,136.73 per student
Irving = $48,557/13.82 students per teacher = $3,513.53
Richardson = $51,411/13.88 students per Teacher = $3,703.96

Mansfield by has an edge on KISD of $32.72 per student in teacher salary per student.  Virtually a wash.  KISD has an advantage over Irving ($344.08 LESS per student) and Richardson ($534.51 LESS per student).  These are significant amounts!

The positions with the largest dollar variance for KISD relative to the others are Professional Support, which per position is $4,000 to $5,000 LESS than the other 3 districts and Central Administration, which per position varies from $8,000 to $18,000 LESS per position.

2. Student cost per "Professional Support" position. Take the salary and divide it by the student per professional support position ratio.

Keller = $53,475/88.09 students per professional support = $607.04
Mansfield = $58,624/119.75 students per professional support = $489.55
Irving = $57,003/103.91 students per professional support = $548.58
Richardson = $58,624/57.98 students per professional support = $1,011.10

Mansfield's professional support serves its students for $117.49 less per student than KISD. If one is looking for "fiscal accountability" this is one area to look at in KISD.  Irving does in for less cost too ($58.46) and Richardson for significantly more than KISD ($404.06).
 
3. Student cost per Campus Administration position. Take the salary and divide it by the student to Campus Administrator ratio.
 
Keller = $73,103/308 students per campus administrator = $237.34 per student 
Mansfield = $74,803/295 students per campus administrator = $253.57 per student
Irving = $76,172/277 students per campus administrator = $274.99 per student
Richardson = $74,803/274 students per campus administrator = $273.00 per student

Keller's campus administration cost per student are $16.23 less than Mansfield's, $37.65 less than Irving's, and $35.66 less than Richardson's.  KISD and Mansfield ISD cost are close, relative to Irving and Richardson ISD's.

4. Student cost per Central Administration position. Take the salary and divide it by the student to Central Administration position.

Keller = $91,999/898.57 students per central administrator = $102.38 per student
Mansfield = $110,635/987.93 students per central administrator =  $111.99 per student
Irving = $100,028/621.54 students per central administrator = $160.94 per student
Richardson = $110,635/807.81 students per central administrator = $136.96

KISD's Central Administration cost per student is $9.61 LESS than Mansfield's, $58.56 less than Irving's and $34.58 less than Richardson's.  This effectively neutralizes the conclusion from part 1 (No 5) concerning the student to central administration ratio, which greatly favored Mansfield.  When salaries are taken into consideration KISD's Central Administration salaries are the least expensive to the other districts on a per student basis. 
 
Conclusion:
 
I took 3 school districts with similar numerical enrollments and calculated  a per student to employee ratio and a per student cost for each of the major categories of employees. The former indicates the number of employees a district figures it needs to serve students. The latter shows a per student cost for these same employees.
 
While number 5 in the first section showed a wide disparity between Mansfield and KISD in Central Admin on a per student basis, that gap was closed when the average salaries of the central administrators wher factored in.  This is a significant finding, I believe. 
 
KISD is open for examination on its"professional support" per student ratio AND per student cost for those support personnel. 
 
I think it is safe to say that KISD is as cost efficient in most of the metrics as the very similar Mansfield ISD, with the noted exception of the category of "Professional Support" and BOTH these districts are much more efficient than  Irving and Richardson ISD's. 
 
So, when it is suggested that KISD spends too much money on salaries I think the appropriate response would be "Compared to Who?" or is it "whom"?...That is why I am a Social Studies teacher...
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