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.


Walk At School Event At Red Bank Elementary Friday

Red Bank Elementary students have been participating in walk to school day events.   On Friday, the 5th graders are doing a surprise "flash mob" dance on the last song at 2 p.m.  (click for more)

Tennessee Releases 2014 State Report Card

The 2014 state Report Card­­­­, posted  Thursday  on the Tennessee Department of Education website, offers users the ability to view detailed breakdowns of last year’s student achievement growth and other important data points. The 2014 Report Card features a variety of tabs including growth or value-added data, accountability, and education climate. A College and ... (click for more)

Chickamauga Lock To Reopen As Soon As Next Thursday

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District  plans to reopen Chickamauga Lock to all navigation traffic as early as next Thursday. An inspection of the upper gate anchorage and a repair plan were completed today. Chickamauga Lock closed on Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in the anchorage of the upper gate. Lt. Col. John Hudson, commander ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In November

As the first day of November arrives today, it is cold enough in my garden to officially certify that fall has fell! There are even signs of ice on the ground but there is a bounty crop of acorns so, in keeping with our monthly tradition, some will get shiny acorns and others will get a chunk of cold ice: A SHINY ACORN for Patriots football coach Bill Belichick for scoffing at ... (click for more)