Lean administration in county schoolsPublished 4:05pm Thursday, June 21, 2012
Editor’s note: After an article detailing the ratio of students to administrators in Alexander City schools was published, a reader asked if the same numbers could be obtained for Tallapoosa County Schools.
While the ratio of the number of students to teachers at a school is often scrutinized, some cash-strapped school systems are now being asked to evaluate whether the number of administrators is suitable for that number of students served.
Birmingham City schools recently were found to have one administrator for every 20 students.
Tallapoosa County schools have a much smaller ratio, said assistant superintendent John Wilcox.
“Administrative positions are there for a reason, but you try to be as lean as you can so that money can be put back into the classroom,” Wilcox said. “You also don’t want to be so focused on lowering the number of administrators that the students and schools are hurt, however.”
Wilcox said he believes the school system has the right amount of administrators to get the job done. For the 2010-2011, Tallapoosa County schools had 2,996 students and 20 administrative positions. This means that Tallapoosa County schools has a ratio of approximately one administrator to every 150 students.
Wilcox explained that many administrators in the system have their time split between two different duties.
Horseshoe Bend School has 1 principal and 1.5 assistant principals. The .5 represents an employee who spends half the day on administrative duties and the other half in the classroom, Wilcox said.
Dadeville Elementary has 2 administrative positions, as does Councill Middle School. Reeltown has 1 principal and 1.5 assistant principals.
The Tallapoosa County Alternative School accounts for .5 administrative unit.
The remaining 8.5 administrators reside at the central office, Wilcox said. This staff is comprised of one superintendent, one assistant superintendent and 6.5 directors, supervisors and coordinators.
Wilcox said only one of the part-time administrative positions is expected to expand into a full-time position.
“Our special education coordinator retired, so in an effort to save money, our personnel director assumed the duties of our special education coordinator,” Wilcox said. “This is not a long-term solution, because we are currently actively advertising for that position. It is a vital position that needs a full-time administrator.”
Wilcox said that with the size of the Tallapoosa County school system, administrators sometimes have to divide their attention amongst multiple responsibilities.
“It’s a bottom-line issue – you do what needs to be done to benefit our children,” Wilcox said.