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Thread: Selectmen's Forum On How We Define Ourselves

  1. #16
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    You could look in a lot of places...

    *Our top school administrators are getting paid more each and every year. The budget link you provided shows a 6.1% increase in the salaries of our Superintendent and Asst. Superintedent for FY '11, if I'm reading it right. Is this good leadership when we are cutting teachers and facing budget shortfalls all over the place?

    *We spend over $300k alone in secretarial services for the Superintendent/Asst. Superintendent. and what is termed 'Business/Finance'. I'd like to know what these positions are and why we can't combine some of this function with other town clerical help.

    *We spend more than $130k on an Asst. Superintendent. I'd like to know how many other systems our size have this position.

    *We now spend some (unknown) additional money on the new Principal at Loker, a position cut during the reconfiguration thatw as supposed to save us money before. We also have decided to keep the entire building open full time, as if it were a fully functioning school. I'm sure that costs us money above and beyond previously projected savings, although I cannot find specifics in the budget that detail these expenditures.

    Some ideas, and I can't say definitively if cuts in these areas will achieve meaningful savings for what is "given up". However, I'd look in places such as these. Hopefully, the school audit will help to uncover enough information to help us decide. I don't think we have enough information to know....

  2. #17
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    A few thoughts below on some of your suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    You could look in a lot of places...

    *Our top school administrators are getting paid more each and every year. The budget link you provided shows a 6.1% increase in the salaries of our Superintendent and Asst. Superintedent for FY '11, if I'm reading it right. Is this good leadership when we are cutting teachers and facing budget shortfalls all over the place?
    It has been the School Committee's philosophy to give the same cost of living adjustment to administrators as given to teachers (as was the case in FY11--I don't think that the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent received 6.1% salary increases, but rather, they saw the same increases as the teachers). To choose a different philosophy would be to value administrators less than teachers, and I for one am not ready to do that. Educating children is a combined effort requiring talented teachers and management.

    You've proposed cutting their salaries--what cut would you impose?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    *We spend over $300k alone in secretarial services for the Superintendent/Asst. Superintendent. and what is termed 'Business/Finance'. I'd like to know what these positions are and why we can't combine some of this function with other town clerical help.
    I think that this is the point of the "Article 6 Audit" that's presumably underway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    *We spend more than $130k on an Asst. Superintendent. I'd like to know how many other systems our size have this position.
    Very few. Most have two positions--curriculum and personnel--where we have the functions combined into one.

  3. #18
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    More ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    The most specific example I'd cite is the bloat in school administration that could be reapplied to having the excellent elementary level experience we once enjoyed. Count me in the group that would happily sacrifice administrative salary for smaller classrooms.
    When you wrote this, you didn't say "perhaps" or "maybe"--you were quite clear in saying that you'd make those changes. Yet, in your more recent post, you said that you don't have enough information. I'm confused, which is it?

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    More ...

    When you wrote this, you didn't say "perhaps" or "maybe"--you were quite clear in saying that you'd make those changes. Yet, in your more recent post, you said that you don't have enough information. I'm confused, which is it?
    I'm only leaving open the possibility that I could be proven wrong and that every dollar spent is "worth it". I'm for as little admin as works...

    That being said, your response left out any mention of the Loker stuff. Was that on purpose, or did you simply choose not to respond to that point?

  5. #20
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    I don't have any knowledge of the Loker principal position, so nothing to add.

    That being said, your response left out any mention of administrator salary cuts. Was that on purpose, or did you simply choose not to respond to that point (upon further reflection, I think those two choices are the same thing)?

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I don't have any knowledge of the Loker principal position, so nothing to add.

    That being said, your response left out any mention of administrator salary cuts. Was that on purpose, or did you simply choose not to respond to that point (upon further reflection, I think those two choices are the same thing)?
    My previous posts discuss areas where we could see administrative salary cuts/personnel reductions. They should be explored.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    While I agree that tax RATE has an impact on perceived desirability of real estate, it should be a secondary consideration behind tax BILL.
    And both the tax RATE and the tax BILL are irrelevant, since the real issue is VALUE. What do we get for those taxes?

    It's a question of value.

    Most of the peer towns that we compare ourselves to provide sewer, water and trash pick up.
    We don't.
    So to really compare what we pay to some of these other towns, we'd need to add to our taxes what we pay for trash removal or dump fee & orange bags, water and septic tank, pumping and services.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
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  8. #23
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    Default To one of Jeff Baron's points about admin cost...

    It's understandable that Wayland would pay it's teachers and administrators more than average, but it is NOT understandable why we pay more than almost of of those towns we consider our peers.
    What do our students get for all that extra cost that our peers' students don't get?

    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  9. #24
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    Wayland tends to be in the middle of its peer group by what I think are the most important measures: income, tax bill, and per pupil expenditure. The latter is spelled out on slide 13 of the School Committee's 2010 Budget Hearing presentation.

    As to why the MA DESE might list Wayland as having a higher than average administrative cost, I addressed that in post 25 of this thread. And, even if our administrative costs were to come out on the high side, the fact that we get strong results with overall per pupil expenditure in the middle of our peer group is a positive outcome.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    My previous posts discuss areas where we could see administrative salary cuts/personnel reductions. They should be explored.
    Jeff B., I think that you and I are in agreement that the question of administrative head count is best left to the experts (please correct me if that's a mischaracterization). We should be benchmarking against other towns and best practices. The question of salary, however, requires no such expertise. You've proposed administrative salary cuts, and therefore a break from the philosophy of treating teachers and administrators the same. I'm interested to know what which administrators you have in mind, and how much of a cut.

  11. #26
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    Rather than continue in this off-topic discussion on schools under the "Selectmen's Forum On How We Define Ourselves" thread, I have started a new thread called Ratios of students to teachers and administrators here.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  12. #27
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    To be fair, any serious read of the original post in this thread might reasonably conclude that it was never "on topic," but rather, a frivolous and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have a laugh at the expense of town officials making a concerted effort at dialogue.

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