The Bluegrass Institute has been concerned for years about the fact that Kentucky’s public schools have consistently had among the nation’s most top heavy staff to teacher ratios of any state in the nation. We’ve pointed this out since our first publication of our “Ten Great Reasons for School Choice” flier.
Averaged across the United States and Washington DC, the ratio of teachers to total staff is 51.5 percent, meaning there are slightly more teachers than all staff combined. Here in Kentucky, however, the latest available data shows our teacher to total staff ratio is only 43.9 percent, way below the US average. That means staff significantly outnumber teachers in the Kentucky public school system.
Simply put, we have a lousy “tooth to tail” ratio. And, its teachers, not staff that research shows to be the most important factor in education. We even agree with the Prichard Committee on that one.
Now, thanks to tight funding, some of Kentucky’s excess fat is getting cut, at least in one school district. Oldham County Schools are doing a smart thing and evaluating low productivity staff positions and eliminating them.
Other school districts would do well to follow the Oldham County example. In these lean times when thousands of Kentuckians simply cannot afford the burden of more taxes, it behooves our schools to join the private sector to aggressively seek out and eliminate inefficiencies. And, as the graph above shows, a great place to start is to examine the top-heavy staffing found across all our school districts.