Arizona Classroom Spending Vs. Administrative Costs

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The Arizona School Boards Association has created a new report on classroom spending for fiscal year 2016. The report shows a slight increase in classroom spending from 2015 to 2016, with a decrease in administrative costs. It also shows a lower percentage of dollars spent in the classroom for charter schools. Timothy Ogle, the executive director of the association, will discuss the report.


TED SIMONS: STATE REPRESENTATIVE PHIL LEVITZ ANNOUNCED HE'S LEAVING THE LEGISLATURE FOR A JOB WITH THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION. HE HAS BEEN NAMED TO A POSITION WITH THE U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ADEQUACY. HE WILL RESIGN OFFICIALLY NEXT MONDAY. A NEW REPORT OUT FOR EDUCATION SPENDING FISCAL 2015. A DECREASE IN ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. THE REPORT COMPARES PUBLIC AND CHARTER SCHOOLS. WITH US THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. GOOD TO HAVE YOU. CLASSROOM SPENDING 2016. WHAT DID YOU LOOK FOR. WHAT DID YOU FIND?

TIMOTHY OGLE: THERE ARE A LOT OF TRENDS WITH REGARD TO FINANCE AND CLASSROOM SPENDING IMPORTANT TO PUBLIC POLICY. THEY ARE IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE DON'T TO SEE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF CUTS TO K-12, AS SPENDING EXPANDS THE FIXED COST PERCENTAGES INCREASE.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE A BUNCH OF GRAPHICS TO TAKE A LOOK. START WITH DISTRICT SPENDING IN CLASSROOMS. WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT HERE? WHAT DID THE REPORT FIND?

TIMOTHY OGLE: IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE ORIGINAL IMPETUS FOR THE REPORT IS THAT THE AUDITOR GENERAL, A STATE LEGISLATIVE APPOINTEE PUTS OUT A REPORT THAT DID NOT ACCURATELY REFLECT SPENDING PATTERNS OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS. THIS YEAR, OUR ASSOCIATION IN COMBINATION WITH OUR FRIENDS AT ABO, PUT TOGETHER SOMETHING THAT REPRESENTS WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE K-12 DISTRICTS.
TED SIMONS: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AUDITOR GENERAL AND YOUR --
TIMOTHY OGLE: WE ARE FOLLOWING THE GOVERNOR'S BETTER DEFINING OF GAINS AND WHAT IS NOT. THE KEY DIFFERENCES HAVE TO DO WITH INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT, ELL INSTRUCTION AND THOSE KIND OF THINGS, CLASSROOM AIDS THAT HELP WITH TUTORING AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT, MEDIA, LIBRARIANS THAT SORT OF THING.
TED SIMONS: YOU FOUND THAT DISTRICTS SPENT MORE IN THE CLASSROOM?
TIMOTHY OGLE: YES.
TED SIMONS: BY HOW MUCH?
TIMOTHY OGLE: SEVERAL PERCENTAGE POINTS. IN A STATE THAT IS 48TH IN REVENUE PER STUDENT AND HAS THE LOWEST TEACHING SALARY IN THE COUNTRY, AND HAS THE FOURTH LARGEST CLASS SIZES OF ALL 50 STATES, THESE ARE REVEALING. TO SPEND APPROACHING 2/3 SCHOOL BUDGET ON INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITIES IN LIGHT OF THE DEPRESSED TEACHER SALARIES AND LARGE CLASS SIZES, THAT SAYS A LOT FOR WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR PRACTITIONERS IN THE FIELD.

TED SIMONS: LET'S LOOK AT ANOTHER STORY HERE THERE IS ANOTHER STUDY COMPARING DISTRICT SCHOOLS TO CHARTER SCHOOLS IN TERMS OF SPENDING, CLASSROOM SPENDING AGAIN.

TIMOTHY OGLE: YES. WHAT YOU HAVE HERE, DISTRICT SCHOOLS HAVE A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF DOLLARS GOING INTO THE CLASSROOM. THAT'S NOT A SURPRISE IN THE PROFESSION SO TO SPEAK. THIS COMES FROM TWO SOURCES. THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS A SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT THAT REPORTS AUDITOR DATA. THE SUPERINTENDENT DOES NOT REPORT ON CHARTER SPENDING.

TED SIMONS: BUT YOU DID REPORT ON CHARTER SPENDING IN CLASSROOMS AND REGARDING ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. WHAT DID YOU FIND?

TIMOTHY OGLE: WE SAW A LOWER SPENDING ON ADMINISTRATIVE SPENDING IN DISTRICT SCHOOLS FROM THE ARIZONA DATA. THAT'S REFLECTIVE OF THE ENVIRONMENT WITH THE KINDS OF ACTIVITIES THAT ARE GOING ON OUT THERE IN THE FIELD.
TED SIMONS: WHEN WE COMPARE DISTRICT SCHOOLS TO CHARTER SCHOOLS AS FAR AS ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS ARE CONCERNED, WHAT DID YOU FIND?

TIMOTHY OGLE: THE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS IN DISTRICT SCHOOLS ARE LOWER.

TED SIMONS: SURPRISING?

TIMOTHY OGLE: NO, NOT SURPRISING.

TED SIMONS: WHY NOT?

TIMOTHY OGLE: PARTIALLY BECAUSE OF ECONOMIES OF SCALE, AND PARTIALLY BECAUSE THE DISTRICT SCHOOLS ARE GOVERNED IN A DEMOCRATIC FASHION. THE KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHARTER MODEL AND DISTRICT MODEL IS THE WAY THEY ARE GOVERNED AND ORGANIZED. YOU HAVE PUBLICLY ELECTED GOVERNING BOARDS CONTROLLING THE BUDGETS AND ANSWERING TO THE BODY POLITICS SO TO SPEAK. CHARTERS DON'T HAVE THAT. THEY ARE INDEPENDENT AND INSULAR IN DESIGN.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS STUDENT REPORTS, A SLIGHT INCREASE IN STUDENT SUPPORT. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

TIMOTHY OGLE: ARIZONA IS ONE OF THE MORE IMPOVERISHED STATES OF THE 50 WITH REGARD TO STUDENT POPULATION. THE LEVEL OF POVERTY NATIONALLY 18%, WE RUN 21 OR 22% OF STUDENTS IN POVERTY. CHILDREN OF POVERTY REQUIRE MORE SUPPORT. THEY DON'T COME TO SCHOOL READY TO LEARN AS FREQUENTLY. THEY REQUIRE MORE SOCIAL SERVICES AND MORE SUPPORT ACTIVITIES, ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING, WHETHER IT'S ADDITIONAL KINDS OF AID SUPPORT AND THINGS TO GET THEM READY TO LEARN.

TED SIMONS: SLIGHT INCREASE. ONE LAST THING, ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE CUTS. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

TIMOTHY OGLE: THAT MEANS THE STATE LEGISLATURE HAS CONTINUED THE BEAT OF THE DRUM OF CUTTING THE BUDGET, OVER THE LAST DECADE, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IT PLAYS TO THE WHOLE ARENA AROUND THE STATE AS TO BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE. AS A SIDE BAR, THE EDUCATIONAL FUNCTION OF OUR DISTRICT SCHOOLS, A WHOLE OTHER ARENA OF SPENDING FOR CLASSROOMS, A LOT OF THE SUPPORT SERVICES ARE NOT COUNTED FOR IN ADDITIONAL CLASSROOM METHODS OF SPENDING. OUR STATE LEGISLATURE UNDER SPENT THE FUNDING FORMULA $150 MILLION A YEAR. DISTRICTS HAVE TO TAKE MONEY FROM THEIR M & O BUDGET TO SUPPORT TEACHING AND LEARNING AND PROVIDE THINGS LIKE SUPERVISION ON BUSSES FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION CHILDREN WHO NEED HELP GETTING ON AND RIDING THE BUS IN A SAFE WAY. THAT MONEY COMES OUT OF M & O.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT. WHAT DO WE TAKE FROM THE REPORT AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN REGARDING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT?

TIMOTHY OGLE: I THINK WHAT IT MEANS IS THAT WE HAVE A STATE THAT UNDERPERFORMS. THAT'S NOT A SURPRISE TO ANYONE. WHAT YOU TAKE AWAY, DISTRICTS ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB WITH GETTING THE KIND OF PERFORMANCE THAT THEY GET IN LIGHT OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF CUTS IN THE CHANGING PERCENTAGES. I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW GOOD IT WOULD BE IF WE FULLY FUNDED OUR SCHOOLS. WE COULD HAVE A GREAT STORY TO TELL. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT'S OCCURRING.

TIMOTHY OGLE: THANKS FOR HAVING ME. I APPRECIATE IT.

Timothy Ogle: Executive director of the Arizona School Boards Association

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