Picking on the Little Guy?

Steve Fuhrmann of Charles City County points out that my analysis of division administrative employees may be misleading: CCCo was the only small division in the group I looked at.  My calculation showed Charles City with overall 60.2 administrators per 100 teachers vs. a state average of 54.3.


Steve sent along a spreadsheet that looks at the same data for the eleven divisions with between 500 and 900 students (excluding tiny Highland with only 209).  Those data show CCCo with a smaller administrative staff, relative to the teaching staff, on average:


(It’s comforting that he also got 60.2% for CCCo.)

That said, Steve joins me in wondering why the smaller divisions face larger administrative costs:

The administrative argument has usually been that smaller divisions are required to provide administrative services– especially for maintaining smaller facilities, complying with unfunded state GA mandates and submitting data to VDOE–and do not have large student populations across which to reduce average costs . . .
In comparison with the 11 smaller divisions, comparing administrative overhead with teaching positions, Charles City actually looks pretty good–except for average salaries where we compare poorly if we are to recruit and retain effective teachers for our students . . .  Norton and especially Lexington appear to be outliers–even though student transportation is the only service that can be assumed be be much lower in cities–and Colonial Beach and West Point, also more compact towns, do not show much lower administrative expenditures

Charles City actually has a lower student-to-teacher ratio and a relatively quite low total administrative-to-teacher burden.

(I wish I could figure out a way to actually test the assumption that smaller divisions really need relatively higher administrative service costs–I suspect it has more to do with conventional sharp divisions of labor expertise, rather than overall functional requirements.)

This also leaves open the question why Petersburg hires so many bureaucrats and turns in such lousy results.