New Report Highlights Spending On School Administration

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) has found that school districts with higher rates of administrative spending are more likely to be very small or very large districts, and to be municipal or special school districts rather than county districts. 

Based on spending data from the 2012-13 school year, school districts in Tennessee spent 10.5 percent of their day-to-day expenditures (not including capital or debt service spending) on administration, which includes local school boards, central district offices including the directors of schools, and principal offices at each school. Tennessee administrative spending has increased over the past five years in relation to total spending (from 9.8 percent to 10.5 percent), but was below administrative spending rates for school districts in the Southeast and across the nation. The majority of districts’ administrative spending (57 percent) is at the school level for expenditures in the principals’ offices. 

Individual district expenditures on administration ranged from between 6 and 17 percent of total current spending. About one-fourth of districts (33) spent more than the statewide rate of 10.5 percent on administration in 2012-13. 

Seventy percent of these higher administrative spending districts are city or special school districts, which tend to be smaller than county districts and are likely to have additional sources of local tax revenue.

About two-thirds of the higher-spending districts fall into the bottom fifth or the top fifth of districts ranked by enrollment size.

Seventy percent of the higher spending districts had central office administrator-to-student ratios above the statewide median of 4.4 administrators per 1,000 students enrolled. 

The report did not analyze the cost-effectiveness of districts’ spending, where district or school outcomes--like student academic achievement and graduation rates--would be compared in relation to administrative expenditures. Without further analysis of such outcomes, identification of above-average administrative spending by itself cannot be evaluated as appropriate or inappropriate.

OREA is an agency within the Comptroller’s Office that is charged with providing accurate and objective policy research and analysis for the Tennessee General Assembly and the public.

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800/232-4343. For more information, contact John Dunn, Public Information Officer, at 615/401-7755 or john.dunn@cot.tn.gov.


Bea Lyons Honored At “Tea For Bea”

When Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Kimberly McCormick, established the Faculty Fellows Program during 2014, several well-known and respected educators were named as inaugural fellows. The Social and Behavioral Science Division honored Bea Lyons as its fellow. A special “Tea for Bea” was recently held to serve as a springboard for the first endowed fellowship ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Kimball Announces Early College Open House

Chattanooga State Community College announces an Early College Open House on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. CST at the Chattanooga State Kimball Site at 2100 Main St. in Kimball. College representatives will be on site to answer questions, assist with dual enrollment grant applications and process registrations on the spot.  Chattanooga State's Early College Program gives students ... (click for more)

National Championship Bicycle Racing Gets Underway In Chattanooga

National championship bicycling racing got underway in Chattanooga on Saturday morning under glorious Memorial Day weekend weather. Individual Time Trial Para-Cycling began at 8 a.m. at the Volkswagen facility. Individual Time Trial Female was at 11 a.m. and for the men was at 2 p.m. The Para-Cycling road race is Sunday at Volkswagen. The female road race kicks off ... (click for more)

Flora Tydings Selected As Chattanooga State’s Next President

Flora Tydings is expected to be named the next president to lead Chattanooga State Community College pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents at a special called meeting next Wednesday. The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. CDT at the TBR System Office in Nashville. Included on the agenda is TBR Chancellor John Morgan’s recommendation for Dr. Tydings to replace Interim President ... (click for more)

Shame On The Housing Authority

With Chattanooga and other cities around the nation struggling to find solutions to chronic homelessness it's cruel to evict families likely with children over a fight.   When you evict the adults you're also evicting any and all children in the household.  Intelligence would dictate looking for a root cause. Compassion would dictate looking for alternatives. Both ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Great Orthopedic Success

Mark Freeman, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Erlanger Hospital, shared a dazzling look at our area’s Level One Trauma Center Friday morning. Yet, as he described the dramatic changes that have occurred in just the past 12 months, the promise of what will happen within the next year was even more appealing. Believe this, our flagship hospital is getting well in a hurry. “If ... (click for more)