Administrative costs within education are a frequently debated topic. It’s risen up once again as part of some current election-related discussions. The premise of the recent assertion is that we can reduce spending on education by “trimming the fat.” Our schools, some say, can operate more cost-effectively if we reduce the number of administrative staff. One statistic that has been repeated is that Arizona has a 1:1 ratio of teachers to administrators. This would indeed be a shocking revelation, if it were true. But, in fact, it’s not.
According to a report provided by the Arizona Department of Education, there are a total of 55,317 teachers employed by the state. There are 3,434 administrators. That is a ratio of more than 16:1. Now, that’s quite a difference from the 1:1 statistic being used by some people in our state. In fact, the amount Arizona public schools spend on administration is well below the national average.
What’s also important for Arizonans to understand is that the often criticized administrative portion of school district budgets includes school nurses, guidance counselors, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers and more (read the complete report). I think most people would agree that each of these functions fulfills an important role in keeping our schools running as well as our students safe and appropriately supported.
Expect More Arizona encourages a healthy and respectful debate over issues related to our education system and how we can improve it. We also want to make sure that these discussions are based on the facts, and not misinformation or misunderstandings. Our humble advice: always question what you hear and verify the facts before you let it shape your views on education. If you’re having trouble finding the most credible source, send us an email and we’ll try to help you.