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.