Teacher Truancy Costs, 2018 Version

RPS is hiring a lot of substitute teachers because, as measured by the 2018 CRDC, astounding numbers of the full time teachers are absent from work. The RPS budgets provide a measure of the costs.

In the 2017 adopted budget there was a line item in “General Fund Expenditures by Object Class” under “Other Compensation” for substitutes (at category 523): “N-SUBSTITUTE INSTR PROF.”

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In the 2020 budget, that category had morphed to “N-INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF.”

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Indeed, that category title changed every year from 2017 to 2020 (and in between the category number disappeared). No telling what’s going on there.

We can extract some useful information from this, however, because each budget contains data for the previous two years. The numbers reported under the new category titles in later budgets included those under the older titles in the earlier budgets. That is, despite the name changes, this category was, and remained, for substitute instructors.

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These budgets also include the “actual” expenditures for substitutes for the first of the three budget years: Those show RPS underestimating the substitute teacher costs by 33 to 42 percent in each of the four years analyzed above.

And, to the point of teacher truancy, if RPS could cut the actual substitute costs by half, they could boost the full time teaching salaries by about 3% without increasing the overall budget.

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Your tax dollars at “work.”