THE HIGH ADMINI$$$TRATIVE CO$T OF VALLEJO SCHOOLS


By Robert Schussel, Ph.D

 

Purpose

To provide a better understanding of how much the Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) spends on administrative salaries and overhead compared to other school districts in Solano County.

 

Background

VCUSD is one of the larger school districts in Solano County.

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Although VCUSD until recently had been under State receivership due to a bankruptcy, in 2012/13 VCUSD spent about $1,400 more per student than the other school districts in Solano County. Because VCUSD has a relatively high percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged, VCUSD is eligible for additional monies from the State. In addition VCUSD has been successful in obtaining grants for programs such as Restorative Justice.

 

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Critics of VCUSD claim the school district administrative overhead is too high. They also claim VCUSD has too many administrators and that they are overpaid. A prior article on vibvallejo.com revealed that while VCUSD administration salaries were about average compared to other school districts in the County, VSCD tended to have more administrators than expected.

 

Caveats

1). The information presented in this report came from 2012/13 data school districts in the State of California are required to submit to the California Department of Education. The website Ed Data has summarized the data to make it more usable.
Ed-Data is a partnership of the California Department of Education, EdSource and the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) designed to offer educators, policy makers, the legislature, parents, and the public quick access to timely and comprehensive data about K-12 education in California.

2) For some expense categories there is a lack of uniformity in what is reported. For example while summary data for expense category #7200 Other General Administration is provided for every school district, a more detailed breakout shows spending for # 7300 Fiscal Services ( another subcategory ) for every school district in Solano County except VCUSD. Instead VCUSD reported more specific fiscal categories such as Budgeting and Account Receivables.

 

Findings

1) VCUSD’s General Administration Costs (Board & Superintendent, External Audit, Central Data Processing, Other General Administration (largest category—see appendix)) are the highest of any school district in the County (see fiscal definitions in Appendix). VCUSD spends 10% of its budget for General Administration which is significantly higher than the State average of 6% for all Unified School Districts.
2) VCUSD spent double (2% versus 1%) the percent of budget for its Board & Superintendent than other Solano School Districts and all Unified School Districts. In 2012/13 VCUSD spent $1,849,172 for its Board& Superintendent —40% more than Fairfield (a larger district).

 

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3) There are several fiscal categories that VCUSD spends significantly MORE per student than the average Unified School District in the State. Most of these categories are for non-teaching staff and services. They include Classified Personnel salaries, Books & Supplies, and Services & Other Operating Expenditures (Operations & Housekeeping, and Professional/Consulting Services and Operating Expenditures. The amount VCUSD spent for Administrators within the Certified Personnel Salary category is high compared to other Solano County districts and all unified school districts.

 

Percent of average $ spent (per student) compared to Unified School Districts in California

  Vallejo Vacaville Fairfield Travis Benicia Dixon MEDIAN Solano Co.
Certificated Personnel Salaries

94%

85%

88%

91%

98%

90%

91%

Classified Personnel Salaries

121%

89%

91%

92%

88%

75%

90%

Employee Benefits

89%

85%

78%

62%

70%

72%

75%

Books and Supplies

119%

68%

91%

88%

63%

72%

80%

Services and Other Operating Expenditures

113%

53%

57%

63%

54%

112%

60%

TOTAL

100%

81%

83%

82%

84%

85%

84%

 

4) VCUSD spends significantly MORE per student (26% more than the average State Unified School District) for Certified Supervisors and Administrators salaries (total $5,971,537.) Conversely, VCUSD spent significantly LESSS on Certified Pupil Support Salaries.

CERTIFIED SALARIES

Vallejo Vacaville Fairfield Travis Benicia Dixon MEDIAN Solano Co.
Certificated Teachers’ Salaries

93%

83%

89%

94%

103%

91%

92%

Certificated Pupil Support Salaries

64%

103%

72%

74%

74%

90%

74%

Certificated Supervisors’ and Administrators’ Salaries

126%

91%

96%

85%

100%

93%

95%

Other Certificated Salaries

72%

87%

62%

52%

9%

27%

57%

SUBTOTAL

94%

85%

88%

91%

98%

90%

91%

5) VCUSD spends significantly MORE per student on non-teaching Classified Staff salaries. While VCUSD spending per student for classified instructional salaries is somewhat higher than the most of the other districts in the County, NON TEACHING CLASSIFIED( Support, Supervisors & Administrators, Clerical/Technical/Office ) spending per student (total $10,860,815) was significantly HIGHER than the State average (about 20% higher) and most of the other school districts in the County.

 

CLASSIFIED SALARIES Vallejo Vacaville Fairfield Travis Benicia Dixon MEDIAN SOLANO CO.
Classified Instructional Salaries

95%

91%

71%

70%

100%

76%

84%

Classified Support Salaries

108%

82%

94%

94%

58%

58%

88%

Classified Supervisors’ and Administrators’ Salaries

124%

64%

136%

75%

88%

99%

94%

Clerical, Technical, and Office Staff Salaries

126%

94%

96%

101%

109%

85%

99%

Other Classified Salaries

239%

124%

77%

143%

114%

89%

119%

SUBTOTAL

121%

89%

91%

92%

88%

75%

90%

 

6) VCUSD spending per student is nearly DOUBLE ( 113% versus 60% of Solano Districts ) what the other Solano School Districts spend on Services and Other Operating Expenditures subcategory ( see last row table below) and 13% above the average for all Unified School Districts in the State.
7) VCSD spending per student on Professional/Consulting Services & Operating Expenses (total spent $8,900,245) is 2 ½ times GREATER than what most other Solano County School districts spent in 2012/13 and 1.8 times MORE than the average for all Unified Districts

  Vallejo Vacaville Fairfield Travis Benicia Dixon MEDIAN
Professional/Consulting Services and Operating Expenditures

184%

77%

65%

49%

58%

122%

71%

Insurance

156%

139%

131%

121%

161%

151%

145%

Operations and Housekeeping Services

131%

92%

90%

87%

71%

129%

91%

Travel and Conferences

129%

72%

158%

127%

108%

106%

118%

Dues and Memberships

97%

86%

87%

145%

262%

136%

117%

Communications

79%

70%

76%

115%

166%

95%

87%

Rentals, Leases, Repairs, and Non capitalized Improvements

55%

44%

40%

138%

43%

305%

50%

Sub agreements for Services

0%

43%

0%

24%

0%

27%

12%

TOTAL FOR SUBCATEGORY

113%

53%

57%

63%

54%

112%

60%

Comments

The finding that surprised me the most is that VCUSD is spending $1,400 more per student than the other School Districts in Solano County. Unfortunately the extra spending has not to date resulted in gains in academic performance.

Not once in the past 18 months have I heard the Board say that the various grants etc. the District receives allows VCUSD to spend $1,400 more per student than the other school districts in the County. The Board also continues to ignore the fact they could pay more competitive teachers wages as the funds do exist. Currently the average VCUSD teacher is paid on average $10,000 less than teachers in the other Solano School Districts.

This analysis also confirms what many critics have speculated. The amount VCUSD spends per student for administrative personnel, non-teaching staff (including non-teaching classified staff, clerical/technical staff), services such as consulting and the amount spent on the Board/Superintendent is significantly higher than for the other school in the County. In many categories VCUSD spending per student is higher than the State average for Unified School Districts.

 

Final Comments

What is unknown at this time is whether the additional spending on administrative and non-teaching personnel is warranted —is the district top heavy? Is all of the classified staff necessary? Why is VCUSD spending 2.5 times more per student on consulting/professional services than the other Solano County School Districts? And finally why are costs for the Board/Superintendent so high?

The School Board’s continued lack of transparency raises the question: What they are hiding from the public? It is time the VCUSD School Board address the issues raised in this report head on.

 

 

 

 

Appendix Definitions of fiscal categories

7110

Board – Activities of the elected body that has been created according to state law and vested with responsibilities for educational activities in a given administrative unit. Costs in this function include: Activities of the members of the Board of Education Activities of the district performed in support of school district meetings Legal activities in interpretation of the laws and statutes and general liability situations Activities of external auditors Services rendered in connection with any school system election, including elections of officers and bond elections Activities concerned with staff relations system wide and the responsibilities for contractual negotiations with both instructional and noninstructional personnel

7150

Superintendent – Activities associated with the overall general administration of or executive responsibility for the entire LEA. Costs in this function include: Activities performed by the superintendent and such assistants as deputy, associate, and assistant superintendents in generally directing and managing all affairs of the LEA Personnel and materials in the office of the chief executive officer Activities associated with community/public relations Activities associated with developing and maintaining good relationships with state and federal officials Activities associated with grant procurement

7200

Other General Administration – Activities other than Function 7100, Board, and Function 7150, Superintendent, which manage the LEA as an overall entity. Other General Administration activities include fiscal services, personnel services, and central support services. Certain insurance should be charged to the appropriate function, such as Function 1000, Instruction, for pupil insurance and driver training vehicle insurance, Function 3600, Pupil Transportation, for insurance on buses; and Function 3700, Food Services, for insurance on food service vehicles. All other costs of property or general liability insurance not charged to a specific function should be charged to Function 7200, Other General Administration; or optionally to Function 7600, All Other General Administration. The optional general administrative functions are not appropriate in funds other than the General Fund. Function 7200, General Administration, is allowed in those special revenue funds that may be charged an indirect cost, such as the Child Development Fund. However, districtwide administrative costs are not directly expended in any fund other than the General Fund. Generally, this function is used with Goal 0000, Undistributed.
7500

Central Support – Activities other than general administration that support the instructional and supporting services programs. These activities include planning, research, development, evaluations, purchasing, distribution, and warehousing services for the LEA.

OTHER GENERAL ADMINISTRATION (7200-7600)   VCUSD Expenditure Per Student

7310

Budgeting

$1,637,714

$128

7200

Other General Administration

$1,161,722

$91

7600

All Other General Administration

$1,136,347

$89

7400

Personnel/Human Resources Services

$1,058,207

$83

7350

Financial Accounting

$932,154

$73

7500

Central Support

$583,113

$46

7340

Payroll

$401,574

$31

7540

Warehousing and Distribution

$321,969

$25

7370

Internal Auditing

$247,949

$19

7530

Purchasing

$138,726

$11

7320

Accounts Receivable

$58,825

$5

7360

Project-Specific Accounting

$27,342

$2

7550

Printing, Publishing and Duplicating

-$56,982

-$4

Subtotal, Other General Administration  

$7,648,660

$599

 

5500

Operations and Housekeeping Services – Record expenditures for water, heating fuel, light, power, waste disposal, pest control, laundry and dry cleaning (such as cleaning of drapes and laundering of curtains), and so forth. Include contracts for these services. Object 5500 is used only with the maintenance and operation functions 8100-8500, and Function 6000, Enterprise. Cleaning of uniforms, such as band or custodial uniforms, is charged to the appropriate function and Object 5800, Professional/Consulting Services and Operating Expenditures. Fuel for pupil transportation is coded to Object 4300, Supplies

5800

Professional/Consulting Services and Operating Expenditures – Record expenditures for personal services rendered by personnel who are not on the payroll of the LEA. Professional/consulting services are delivered by an independent contractor (individual, entity, or firm) that offers its services to the public. Such services are paid on a fee basis for specialized services that are usually considered to be temporary or short term in nature, normally in areas that supplement the expertise of the LEA. This includes all related expenditures covered by the personal services contract.
Record expenditures for services such as printing, engraving, and so forth performed by an outside agency. This includes but is not limited to copies made from masters provided by the LEA.
Record expenditures for catering services provided by an outside vendor.
Record expenditures for college tuition paid on behalf of employees.
Record expenditures for lodging and admission tickets for students and staff on field trips.
Record expenditures for all advertising, including advertising for items such as bond sales, contract bidding, and personnel vacancies. Record expenditures for judgments, penalties, legal advice, attorneys, hearing officers, elections, audits, and other similar costs. Record expenditures for services provided, such as administration, bus transportation, audiovisual, and library.
Record assessments for other than capital improvements, including state assessment for nonuse of school sites. Record expenditures for surveys and appraisals of sites that are not purchased. Expenditures for surveys, appraisals, and assessments in connection with site purchases and/or improvements are recorded in Object 6100, Land, and/or Object 6170, Land Improvements.
Record expenditures for fees charged to LEAs by other local governmental agencies, such as counties, cities, and special districts, for required services. Such fees include those charged for health, building, and operating inspections and permits, plan reviews, and utility connection fees. These charges typically relate to emissions, fuel-tank operations, hazardous waste generation, chemical storage, food safety, water safety, and fire safety. Examples of departments and special districts that assess these fees include Air Pollution Control, Environmental or Public Health Services, Fire Department, and Public Water Control.
Record expenditures for Internet-based publications and materials. Record periodic costs of licensing, support, or maintenance agreements for nonequipment items, such as software. Initial licensing and other costs incurred as part of a major system acquisition should be recorded in Object 6400, Equipment.
Record expenditures not otherwise designated, such as payments of interest on loans repaid within the fiscal year, payments for damages to personal property, expenditures for fingerprints, physical and X-ray examinations required for employment, scholarship payments, and similar items.
Debt issuance costs, including underwriter discounts and fees, should be recorded here. If long term debt is issued at a discount, the discount should be recorded in Object 7699, All Other Financing Uses.
May record up to $25,000 for each individual sub agreement as defined in Object 5100, Sub agreements for Services. This is optional. The $25,000 limit applies for the duration of the sub agreement. The remainder of the sub agreement must be recorded in Object 5100. Examples of sub agreements are shown under Object 5100


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'THE HIGH ADMINI$$$TRATIVE CO$T OF VALLEJO SCHOOLS' have 2 comments

  1. October 28, 2014 @ 8:13 pm Bong Hit

    Most excellent work Dr. Schussel. The one suggestion I would make is to compare Vallejo to Richmond and Oakland. The student demographic to the North of Vallejo is very different from the urban demographic of Vallejo and our partner shipyard towns.

    Thank you for your considerable efforts.

    Post script: why do we not see this kind of analysis from the school district employees that we pay $100,000 per year +

    Perhaps they are part of the most transparent administration in history.

    Reply

  2. October 29, 2014 @ 12:58 pm wharf rat

    Wonder how this issue play’s out in VCUSD seems to be rampant inequality or is it a revenue generator .

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/2-investigates-english-speaking-students-misidenti/nhnpG/

    Reply


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