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Three Oklahoma school districts spend too much on administration, officials say

The Oklahoma Board of Education is expected to discuss school districts that have high administrative costs during its meeting Jan. 31.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: January 21, 2013
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Big districts have big budgets, so folding in administrative costs is easier. Smaller districts are given more wiggle room because they have smaller budgets, Hughes said.

Regardless of size, districts rarely exceed the limits set by state law, said Steven Crawford, executive director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administrators.

Those that do are usually forgiven because of extenuating circumstances, Crawford said.

State laws set specific minimum salaries for teachers based on tenure and education, but similar guidelines are not set out for administrators, Crawford said. So superintendent pay varies widely.

“They're usually set on size and responsibility and job duties, and they vary from district to district,” he said. “There's no set pattern you'll find.”

In smaller districts, superintendents often pick up extra jobs — everything from teaching classes to cleaning up to driving a bus.

“As you grow in size, you add people to get the job done,” Crawford said. “The job gets bigger but you have additional staff.”

Eliminating administrators doesn't necessarily make districts more efficient, Crawford said.

“Consolidation is a local issue,” Crawford said.

“It should be based on quality of education, not administrative costs. There's no real savings for the state or the community in administrative costs. Most likely, if any savings occur, it would occur because of (fewer) teaching positions.”


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