Just what is “Central Office” spending?

Jill Tucker of the SF Chronicle did a great blog post last week on just what is contained in SFUSD’s “Central Office.” For the uninitiated, people who want to avoid cuts to their favorite part of the school district’s budget like to rail against the “fat” in the district’s administration, or Central Office, budget. Here’s what it contains, according to Ms. Tucker’s analysis:

–107 people in the central office, costing $15.7 million, have jobs that range from the superintendent, to accounting, benefits, human resources, public outreach and board support staff. That’s just shy of 4 percent of the operating budget. (See the budget’s nifty pie chart on page 46.)
–81 people costing $9.5 million for other central administration/student support service folks, including the special education department, translation services, school health, and attendance accounting. (See page 47)
–And finally, the big-ticket category: 519 people costing $55.3 million. This central office group includes 303 district-wide custodians, 52 IT folks, 100 security personnel, the facilities department, purchasing, payroll, and other categories. Regardless of where they actually work, they are paid out of the central administration. (See page 48)

That means well over half those 750 central positions are either custodians keeping schools clean, security workers keeping schools safe or IT workers trying to keep the district’s thousands of computers running. Others are cutting paychecks, hiring teachers, assigning kids to schools and assessing children with special needs.

So, who or what do you want to cut to get the district back in the black?


2 responses to “Just what is “Central Office” spending?

  1. “it’s always frustrating that there’s this assumption of some vast, hidden reserve of superfluous employees!”

    Yeah, but it’s so satisfying to say “cut the waste, fraud and abuse”: nevermind that it’s the equivalent of expecting to be able to make your rental payment from the change stuck in the couch.

  2. This is a common cry in our community, too. “Cut the administrative fat at the Education Center!” I suppose it’s easy to point fingers at the area you can’t see so well, but it’s always frustrating that there’s this assumption of some vast, hidden reserve of superfluous employees!