A look at ‘central office’ staff pay in Fayette School System

Over a period of nearly two years The Citizen has looked at a number of expenditure categories related to the operation of the Fayette County School System. That look continues with a review of the job positions of those employees that are not housed in the system’s schools.

Accounting for revenue-neutral positions, there are 140 non-school-based positions earning an average salary of $50,129 in the school system that employs more than 3,000 staff members.

Information supplied by the school system for the previous school year that ended on June 30 shows that of the more than 3,000 people employed, a total of 148 work in administrative, managerial, academic or support positions that are not located in schools. Those include locations such as central office and the Lafayette Education Center.

In total, the 148 positions generate $7.405 million in salaries. The positions fall into departmental categories such as Maintenance, Technology, Human Resources, Finance, Administration, Transportation, Testing, Special Education, Purchasing, Pupil Personnel Services, Instruction, Welcome Center or Student Assistance.

But it should be noted that eight of the 148 positions fall into the categories of After School Program and Nutrition, both of which generate revenues that pay the salaries of those employees. The salaries for the three After School Program staff total $151,502 while the salaries for the five Nutrition staff total $235,629.

That said, the remaining 140 positions receive $7.018 million in salaries from a combination of state and local sources. That sum translates to an average of $50,129 per person.

As is customary in school systems across America, a few people are able to work their way into administrative positions through years of service and are able to receive higher pay as a result.

In terms of salary, there are five staffers in the Fayette system making between $70,000-80,000, seven employees making $80,000-90,000 and six making $90,000-100,000.

And there are 14 staff members with salaries exceeding $100,000. These individuals serve as department heads, academic or system coordinators and in upper administrative positions.

The top three wage earners in the school system are the superintendent at $153,000, the deputy superintendent at $134,000 and the assistant superintendent at $126,000.

In total, the number of non-school employees and their salaries might seem like a lot to some, but Superintendent Jeff Bearden said there is more to the story.

“In Fayette County, for General Administration, we spend $279.98 per student. The state average is $453.04. We spend less than the state average,” Bearden said. “Our total pupil cost is $8,294. The state average is $8,761. We spend $467 less per pupil than the state average. To reach the state average per pupil costs we would need to spend $10 million more than we do now. In summary, we are very efficient and yet our students perform at a very high level.”

The reason for the various reviews by The Citizen is simple. The Fayette County School System got to the point in the current 2011-2012 school year that it is using the balance in its checkbook to balance the budget.

But the days of having a fund balance sufficient to generate a balanced budget for the 2012-2013 school year that begins in July have come to an end, which is why Bearden has stated that approximately $10 million will need to be trimmed from the budget unless an equivalent amount of revenues can be found.

That has not occurred, so Bearden in coming weeks or months will be recommending budget cuts that, in his words, will likely involve personnel cuts that can be accomplished, hopefully, by attrition rather than by layoffs.

One of the areas that The Citizen had not reviewed pertains to the number of school system employees holding positions that are not based in a school setting.

The request for non-school employee information excluded the more than 200 bus drivers since those positions were covered in a previous report.

The objective was not to provide a comparative analysis of how Fayette fares compared to other school systems, but rather to determine the number of positions and to see how much Fayette spends on them.

suggarfoot's picture
Joined: 10/10/2007
a possible place to cut... get rid of Rivers

I want to say 1st that we have a good school system. It drew me and others here. We came the hard way, we paid for our children. It isn't cheap to live in this county. Taxes are high.

But I can't stress the toll the out of county kids are taking on our system, nor how many there are. Part of the reason the out of county kids parents are so victorious at beating the system is the help of residence. They give them their address to use, let them pay their utility bills for a few months, etc. Those people helping them are cheating their neighbors.

We are also still paying for past sins of the old 3 voting block that hung together on all things. They don't have the old choke hold anymore, but the damage they did will last a life time. Because of their wheeling and dealing, we have extra schools along the west bypass that are eating us alive, and also an invitation to out of county kids.

The 'three amigos' as they were called, (two of which remain) went where angles fear to tread with our money. They tossed our money around like drunken sailors. The only thing I can remember they were held at bay over was putting down astro turf at Sandy Creek and a swimming pool at Whitewater. There was also a plan for another high school and a magnet school.

We put people on the school board that had an agenda of their own, putting it in front of our children and the taxpayers. Rivers has 30 something kids in it. It needs to be sold to a community college even if we take a loss. It is now costing us over a quarter of a million a year to keep the doors open. It is like a haunted house. The folly of those past uneducated and unqualified people on the board will haunt us for years to come. It is time in the next election to get rid of the two hold overs that did this to us. Those being Smith and Smola.

loanarranger707's picture
Joined: 10/14/2006
Real cost of school system salaries

The value of what public school personnel receive as compensation, and thus the real cost to the taxpayers, is much higher than you show. A great many of them are entitled to full pensions after 30 years of service, and these pensions are worth a lot (as they could get paid much longer than the actual working years of the people who get them).

Beware the hidden perks! Take a look at the value of employee benefits, because sooner or later the taxpayers shoulder that cost, and the employees who benefit will just slough that off as if they weren't getting anything and were hardly aware of them.

G35 Dude
G35 Dude's picture
Joined: 02/15/2006
You are correct. I propose

You are correct. I propose that we shut down the public school system. Lets make every person legally responsible to educate their own children. Can't afford to stay home and home school? OK then you'll pay private school prices to educate them. And you'll drive them there since there will be no bus service. Can't do that? Then go to jail!

You see if you want someone to teach your kids you must pay them something. If the money is less than these people can make doing other things you must give them benefits at least equal to what they'd get in the private sector. Otherwise you will not get good teachers and people like you that think they are entitled will really start to cry. Their poor darlings aren't getting a good quality education. Some already have this concern. Imagine if you got your way and teachers made even less. Then the school system suffers. Once the school system starts to suffer home values will fall even further. Then you'll cry about that.


A great many of them are entitled to full pensions after 30 years of service, and these pensions are worth a lot (as they could get paid much longer than the actual working years of the people who get them).

Again, please explain how this differs from the private sector? Are you one of those people that wants others to take care of your kids for a salary that forces them to live at the poverty level? Why should they?

SPQR's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007
LA 707

You are correct. It is misleading and disingenuous to quote salaries received when the actual cost to the taxpayer is at least 30% higher when adding in benefits and matching social security. I believe the day of ugliness will eventually arrive when generous government employee benefits become unsustainable

T-Man's picture
Joined: 02/16/2006
LA707 & Ranger

Correct the cost is higher if you factor in benefits but we still pay more to an athlete vs a person teaching our kids. I don't think you will get much support complaining about teacher salaries. Now the BOE office might be the place to start wheen discussing cuts.

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
T-Man: Why do you think athletes earn a lot more than teachers?

Interested to hear your response...:)

T-Man's picture
Joined: 02/16/2006
NUK_1 sorry for the delay

Your question is a good one.
Right off the top of my head
“It's a man’s world” and most men love their sports.
We love our sports/teams more than the person who spends the time with our kids. Support for a team is sometimes a lifelong venture. The teacher normally spends less than a year with our child and our bond with her/him is shorter.
Without the best athletes on a team than that team can't win, so paying more to get that guy/girl on our team to win makes good sense to the sports fan.
Not sure why we don’t see it the same way when it comes to getting the best teachers.

Nuk what is your take on why we don't pay or put teachers on a peddle stole as we do with our athletes?

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007

Because there are very few people who have the abilities to be a professional sports athlete, hence they are going to be paid very well to perform by people. There's a shortage of people who are capable of rising to the level of pro sports. Like you also said, it can be a multi-generational bond also, including colleges and pro's. Then there is the fact that they are really in the "entertainment" business and a lot of the Western world is really big on entertainment and will pay a lot for it. They make a ton of money for others and it get paid(except college athletes who get royally screwed while making fortunes for their plantation masters/universities)accordingly.

The entry requirements for becoming a teacher are so very low in the US that there is a vast amount of people who can be a teacher. Since there is no shortage of people who can pass the Praxis I (a joke of a test) and then the Praxis II in the area that they are supposed to be competent in teaching, there is no shortage at all of people with teaching certificates. While there will always be a shortage of GOOD teachers for a variety of factors, the sheer numbers of the amount of people who are qualified to teach really suppress wages. Since public education is mandatory and is financed by taxes, raising teacher pay means raising taxes and a lot of people suddenly aren't for raising the pay of teachers, cops, firefighters, etc. when they realize their taxes will go up.

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