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That’s the Way the Money Goes?

December 22, 2010

All around the mulberry bush,

the monkey chased the weasel;

The monkey thought ’twas all in fun,

Pop! Goes the weasel.

In the face of major changes coming up for six of Denver’s Far Northeast schools there is much debate about “what is best” for the community, for the children in the schools, and for their parents.  There has also been a little talk about what will happen to the displaced employees, which will include not only about 400 teachers but will also include other staff such as paraprofessionals, as well as office, custodial, cafeteria personnel.  A funny little thought occurred to me.  DPS had already hired new principals after approving the applications of proposed new schools in June.  If I’m not mistaken, at least 3 have been on the payroll since August.  (Mind you, at that point, they had not been selected, or well, “officially” selected to occupy the buildings where their programs will now be housed.)  I have it on good authority that they were scoping out the identified buildings as early as September and conducting promotion for the new schools prior to the November 18 BOE vote. But that really is beside the point I’m trying to make here.

There is a question I’d like to toss into the air, just for giggles.  Actually it’s more of a math problem. 

Let’s just say that only 3 of the new principals are on payroll. Meanwhile, all of the current principals are also still on payroll, as are the assistant principals.  Next year, as the turnaround process begins, there will be a principal for the new “phase-in” model as well as one for the “phase-out” model of each school.  For Ford and Oakland elementary schools that will require one principal and one assistant principal for each portion of the school during the 2011-2012 school year.  Rachel B. Noel Middle School will take 2 years to phase out so it will have 3 administrative teams through the 2013 school year as it phases in the Arts and KIPP programs.  Montbello High School will have 3 years to phase-out and will begin 3 additional new programs next year so there will be 4 administrative teams through the 2014 school year.

I did a little investigation and found a document dated 2007-2008 which identifies salaries for school-based administrators at different levels.  The lowest salary range (for assistant principals at the elementary level) is from $65,000-91,000, while the highest range (for a high school principal) runs from $93,000-125,000.  I will use the most conservative figures possible in each case, recognizing that the actual figure will necessarily be higher because administrator pay rises with experience and almost all of the administrators in question have at least a year of experience.

Here’s the part where my head starts to hurt.  While I enjoy mathematical problems, I am not a mathematician by nature, but I’ll take a stab at this. Let’s take Oakland and Ford at a minimum of $65,000(4) and $77,000(4).  Add to that the two incoming principals who have already been on salary this year + $77,000(2).  So let’s say we have a minimum of $876,000 going to administration during the turnaround process for these two schools. Then we have Rachel B. Noel which will presumably have 3 principals (minimum $84,584) and 3 assistant principals (minimum $70,733).  That comes to at least $931,902. Montbello at present (according to the DPS employee directory) has a substitute principal and an hourly principal as well as 4 assistant principals.  So, let’s just conservatively estimate 4 principals at a minimum of $93,135, for 3 years, plus at least 4 assistant principals at a minimum of $75,356.  That will be at least $2,021,892.  When I add these numbers I get $3,829,794 for minimum administrative salaries in Denver’s Far Northeast over the next several years, which is approaching 1/3 of the estimated $14 million DPS will receive from the Federal government to implement turnaround.

Millions in the Turnaround funds

Millions go to admin.

That’s the way the money goes?

Pop! Goes the weasel.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Elle permalink
    January 4, 2011 9:26 pm

    One third of the turn around money will be spent on administrators. . .. Considering the amount of huge remodeling and building they are proposing, another very large chunk will go to that. Will there be any money left for the kids?

  2. mariasallee permalink*
    January 5, 2011 7:03 am

    @Elle, I’d like an answer to that question too…These figures are definitely topsy turvy.


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