Despite projected budget deficits reaching nearly half a billion dollars and steep enrollment declines, LA Unified’s certified administrative staff has increased 22 percent in the last five years, according to a superintendent’s report.
The number of teachers has dropped 9 percent in the same period. And teachers and certified staff are aging toward retirement, heading toward a possible teacher shortage.
The report was presented to the LA Unified school board Tuesday at a special budget meeting at USC to discuss ways of lowering a looming budget deficit.
The administrative staffing level increase surprised some of the board members.
“How is it possible that administrators went up so much when we have a decline in enrollment?” asked board member Ref Rodriguez, shaking his head.
According to the report presented by Superintendent Michelle King and her staff, certified administrators increased from 2,146 in 2011-2012 to 2,628 positions in 2015-206, a 22 percent increase.
Over the same period, K-12th grade teachers decreased from 27,208 to 24,863, a 9 percent drop.
Concerned that the chart could be “misconstrued,” King explained that many of the administrators are hired for programs located at individual school sites and involve staffing for restorative justice and foster programs that the school board chose to focus on in the past. Also, with the Local Control Funding Formula, schools asked for more local programs requiring administrators, not teachers. Of the administrators, 1,723 are school based while 905 are not.
“We invested in administered accounts, such as more restorative justice and foster programs where the ratios are one person to 100 foster youth,” King said. “You can see how that starts to expand when you’re talking about training for restorative justice coordinators and such. It is important to remember what we invested in and why this is the outcome to where we put our dollars.”