The Courier-Journal reports an extensive clean-up of the bloated central office at the Jefferson County Public School District is likely to save $4 million, apparently each year. That, according to district superintendent Danna Hargens, is money she can now plow back into education in the schools.
It’s about time. Things are so bad even the very militant, protect-every-job-you-can teachers’ union in Louisville agrees with the cuts.
Of course, concerns about bloat in Louisville’s school management organization, including not only excessive staff but serious salary inflation for that staff, have circulated for some time. This was old news back when now-departed former superintendent Dr. Sheldon Berman was still at the helm.
But, it took Berman’s ouster and replacement with Hargens to make things start happening. A management audit of the district supported by Hargens and completed last fall only confirmed the obvious – too many people, too much being paid. However, the audit gave Hargens the ammunition and political cover she needed.
Now, Hargens has reduced her highly paid administrative cabinet from 16 people to just six. Across the entire central office, Hargens either outright eliminated or froze job action on 89 positions. She did create 21 new positions, but a lot of people still are apparently leaving. And, the Courier points out, the departing administrators all had annual salaries of more than $100,000 each. When the dust settles, even after filling 21 new positions, the Courier claims savings will be in the multi-millions of dollars. That’s still ‘small potatoes’ savings when you consider that the district’s total financial receipts in 2010-11 from all sources – local, state and federal – totalled $1.1 billion, but it is a start.
It’s clearly way too early to determine if this shake-up at the district office will have much impact on the classrooms in Louisville and such things as the significant achievement gaps we recently pointed to in many schools there.
However, at the very least it looks like the taxpayer just might have a good chance to get a bit more bang for the incredible amount of bucks the Louisville system spends each year.
So, you have to give superintendent Hargens credit for taking on the status quo in her own central office. I wish we were seeing more of this in Frankfort.