The Union Recorder

March 6, 2013

School staffing study shows Georgia ranks as ‘top heavy’


GCSU Communications

MILLEDGEVILLE — Economics Professor Dr. Ben Scafidi released his second report highlighting the increase in non-teaching staff at America’s public schools.

Last October, he revealed a seven-fold increase since 1950 in non-teachers and administrators throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“I received an overwhelming response to the first study,” said Scafidi. “Calls and emails came in asking for more information and a breakdown of the data.”

The director of the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College did just that, expanding on the initial report.

“This goes into more detail about each state,” said Scafidi.

His report, “The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools,” ranks Georgia as one of the 21 “top heavy states” that employ fewer teachers than administrators and other non-teaching staff.

In Georgia there are 1,461 more non-teaching personnel than teachers. Virginia was the biggest offender with more than 60,000 non-teaching personnel than teachers.

“I found that many states could be saving a tremendous amount of money if they had increased the number of non-teaching staff at the same rate as their increase in students,” said Scafidi.

For Georgia, a total of $925 million could be saved annually, if our public schools had increased non-teaching staff at the same rate as students between 1992 and 2009. The state of Texas could have saved more than $6 billion dollars. The savings is based on the number “extra” non-teaching personnel from each state and multiplying it by an assumed average salary of $40,000.

To put those numbers in context, Georgia public schools could use that savings to give each teacher a raise of over $7,700 per year.

Nevada and Arizona public schools actually saved money because they increased employment of non-teaching personnel at a slower rate than the increase in students, according to the report.

Scafidi concluded that employment has increased dramatically in recent decades in America’s public schools, and at the same time, students achievement has been flat or on the decline.

“If it was time to consider alternatives to the public education system in 1966, what about 2013?” said Scafidi. “If the same system is still intact and more heavily funded, it is time to try something dramatically different.”

Scafidi is a fellow with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia and his B.A. in economics from the University of Notre Dame.

For more information on his staffing study, visit edchoice.org.

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