This week we offer a series of blogs looking at how the traditional public school system in Kentucky – which enjoys a virtual monopoly over deciding where your child can go to school – has been seduced by its own power in arrogant ways that adversely impact students and taxpayers alike. We will show how giving Kentucky parents the competition provided by badly needed school-choice options is the way to curb that monopoly power.
Bloated staff in Jefferson County wastes tax dollars that should go to classrooms
Our first example of the many problems that exist within Kentucky’s monopolistic education system centers on a recently released report from the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts.
This audit is loaded with serious findings (we listed some key ones in this blog) that point to a serious, monopoly-fueled self-interest attitude in the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS).
Perhaps the most jaw-dropping finding of all was this one:
• There are 369 administrators in Jefferson County who are paid more than $100,000 a year —more than the 281 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s entire executive branch! In fact, if JCPS would just reduce the number of its six-figure salaried employees to the same as the executive branch office, that one step alone would save Jefferson County $8.8 million. Does it really require so many people to run a school system for 100,000 students while the entire functioning of the state in all areas can be overseen by far fewer?
• JCPS spent the least on instruction and the most on administrative costs in comparison to similar school districts across the nation.
Clearly, the monopoly-fed attitude in JCPS ignores the best interests of students and even classroom teachers while gorging on ingrown self-interests of adults within the school system. That’s what happens in monopolies. The monopolists’ self-interests always trump the best interests of everyone else in society.
How do you dismantle a monopoly? The answer is to create competition, which is why the Bluegrass Institute favors more school choice, including the nationally popular option of public charter schools.
If there were public charter schools in Louisville, the current monopoly-infused JCPS system would be forced to pay more attention to doing its job efficiently and effectively, or it would lose market share to these alternative public schools.
Louisville attorney and former state legislator Bob Heleringer concurs:
“In the final analysis, the auditor’s report confirms two unassailable truths: (1) The failures of the Jefferson County Public Schools system are definitely not the result of inadequate funding, and (2) things will never change unless a reform-minded (next) governor and General Assembly empower parents to direct their education tax dollars to the public, private, religious schools of their choice without the assistance of even a single $88,281.89-per-year JCPS ‘placement specialist.’”