Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Administrative Costs

Good afternoon.  Yesterday I sent the email below to the members of the City Council.  Please don't take this as a criticism of the Falls Church government or a defense of any action or program of the Schools' central office.  My only point is that in a resource comparison only, the Schools' administration is leaner than is normally perceived.


Dear Members of the City Council,

Over the past few weeks I have spent a fair amount of time talking to residents about the Schools' budget and costs, and discussing the perception that Schools' budget is "fat."  Today I took the time to review the amount of resources devoted to roughly comparable administrative functions between the Schools and the General Government.  I offer this not to suggest that the General Government is "fat" either, but to point that it seems to me that the Schools operate on lean margins.

Most notably, adding together administrative costs in the proposed budgets for leadership, communications, HR and risk management, and IT, reveals that the General Government spends roughly three times the amount per FTE that the schools do.  And if you include students and all employees, the difference is more than an order of magnitude.

Of course, this is a rough comparison only.  The  General Government has communication needs for the entire population, for example, and I am sure one could argue about what was included and what was excluded.  This is only a quick analysis drawn from public information and could certainly be improved (and I apologize for any errors I might have made).  Regardless, I don't think differences of this size are without meaning.  

Respectfully, and with best wishes, 


(These are my personal views and not the official statement or records of the Board. They are not minutes but my personal summary of some of the highlights from the meeting.)

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