Lather, rinse, repeat. An outside reform group says that the Pittsburgh Public Schools have done a good job on costs but more needs to be done. The head of the teachers’ union says that the District’s teachers at the top of the scale don’t make nearly as much as the typical teacher at the top of the scale in western PA and that there is too much administrative bloat. "There still seems to be a number of people [at the District’s headquarters]" said the head of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.
The union head does have a point. We wrote a Brief in 2010 which looked at the student to employee ratios for "teachers" and "non-teachers" and saw that the ratio for teachers had stayed the same over the decade while it had doubled for non-teachers. The audited data has not been updated, so one wishing to see how many students per teacher or non-teacher still has to use 2009 data. That’s true too of the District’s measure of "Building Functional and Educational Capacity" which measures the number of buildings and square footage the District devotes to certain uses. Not only are there more people at headquarters but there is much more space in the District devoted to that use.
In 2000 the District had two buildings and 129,000 square feet devoted to administration and finance (referred to as A/F). It had a total of 9.5 million square feet, meaning about 1% of the total space was used for A/F. It also means that 9.398 million was used for something other than A/F. In 2000, there was 72.8 square feet of non-A/F use for every 1 square foot of A/F use.
In 2009, total square footage of capacity had fallen to 7.343 million as a result of closings. But the square footage of A/F had risen to 390,600 (and an additional building), pushing the percentage share up over 5%. The ratio of non-A/F space (6.953 million) to A/F space (0.390 million) was 17.8 square feet to 1.
Will there be a pitched battle between the teachers and administrators in the PPS that will rival the coming battle between drivers and mechanics and supervisors and management when the Port Authority’s contract gets heated?