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School administrator job growth dwarfs student growth

February 20, 2014 - 5:00am CST

Amid the ongoing discussion of the need for more funding of Oklahoma’s public education system, an important point is often overlooked: According to data that the state of Oklahoma reports to the U.S. Department of Education, school district administration has been growing dramatically in Oklahoma’s public schools.

According to a new analysis by economist Benjamin Scafidi, “Using the time period available, FY 1998 to FY 2011, Oklahoma public schools increased employment in school district administration by 49 percent, while the number of students in Oklahoma public schools increased by only 6 percent. In other words, in Oklahoma public schools, school district administration employment increased over eight times faster than its student population from FY 1998 to FY 2011.”

When only half of Oklahoma’s public education employees are teachers — and the administrative growth shows no sign of letting up — policymakers should ask themselves if more money is really the answer.

Change in FTE Students and FTE School District Administration Employment: Oklahoma Public Schools, FY 1998 to FY 2011

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Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Common Core of Data for fiscal years 1998 and 2011. School District Administration employment is defined as LEA (local education agency) Administrators and LEA Administrative Support Staff.