Saturday, April 25, 2009

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

For the many of our readers that have been emailing me nearly every day asking after my health and well-being, I appreciate your concern. Rest assured, I am working on a number of issues related to this blog and will be back to work shortly. During the hiatus, I have been blessed with volumes of records from current district staff and still have more than 5,000 pages of documents to review that I acquired last year.

My heart goes out to the many district employees with careers hanging in the balance. While it is true that our state is experiencing many significant budget woes, the current economic crisis was clearly evident to whomever possessed the fortitude to look somewhere other than at their own feet. Our District is tacking through innumerable catastrophes and they have seven blind bobbleheads at the helm.

I did manage to drive by the ESC on Friday. As reports had indicated, there was a district employee in an orange vest, sitting in the sun, reading a book. The District exists for educational purposes and at least the parking lot monitor was reading.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

ESD189's staffing assessment is just more propaganda

What senseless gibberish is this? Nick Brossoit is asking for a third party evaluation of administrative staffing levels at the Edmonds School District. He called on ESD189 to provide this assessment based upon data found on the OSPI website. The assessment is absolutely meaningless and just more misinformation.

In the second paragraph, Jerry Jenkins claims that the process of actually answering the real and meaningful question is just too costly. Well, maintaining the District's administrative hierarchy is what is so costly. Hiding behind the illusion of financial responsibility creates the impression that Nick Brossoit cares about how public funds are being spent. I have news for you - he doesn't care. The proof is in his reluctance to make cuts in administration. Not in the number of staff, but in how they are compensated.

Nick Brossoit dare not truly assess the financial impact of all of his hand maidens, aka assistant superintendents, for fear that rational minds may demand their elimination. Try as he might to reduce the number of employees in the ESC, progress is rapidly unraveled when raises and promotions are doled out to his friends with unwarranted salaries and titles. Nick Brossoit will tell you that the Assistant Superintendents in his district are paid the same salaries as assistant superintendents in other districts, but how many do those districts have?

ESD189, like Nick Brossoit, is just playing with numbers. They offer a per student cost of administrative expenditures and total FTE per 1,000 students. There is no discussion related to the number of assistant superintendents each district has or how much is spent supporting each of them.

When people say the District is top heavy, they are not talking about the number of bodies, they are talking about the amount of money spent on assistant superintendents and the like.

The total amount spent for administrative support may be on par with comparable districts, but no effort has been exerted in illustrating a range of salaries. I would be willing to bet that the Edmonds School District has more staff per 1,000 students earning more than $100,000 than any other district in the state. If they are not right at the top, they'll be a close second.

Why is it so hard for a superintendent to understand the impact of poor choices? He and his board seem so enamored by creating and rewarding a small circle of "executives" and it comes at the expense of retaining qualified and competent staff. As more and more money is doled out to friends and allies, the net number of employees may shrink, but alas, the total volume of dollars spent actually stays the same or shifts upward.

It is no surprise that ESD189 thinks the District is understaffed. Fewer people are earning larger salaries while the real worker bees see no real change in their salaries. In a normal economy, such workers would resign and move to another district, but with our current financial turmoil and the charm of our region, few will actually leave.