WINNSBORO — During the 2011-2012 school year, the Fairfield County School District was one of nine districts in the state whose cost of district operations per student exceeded teacher salaries.
Fairfield spent nearly $2,384 per student which ranked 78th out of 83 districts. The total amount spent during the 2011-2012 year was $7,487,078.
Those numbers were released late last month by State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais.
“I am very disappointed to see that nearly 11 percent of districts in our state spent more money on district operations than on teacher salaries,” Zais stated in a written statement. “Teachers are to education what doctors are to medicine, the providers of the service for which the institution exists. Any expense that doesn’t directly impact student learning must be closely examined. After all, a building never hugged a child, and rare is the administrator who teaches one.”
Fairfield County School District Superintendent J.R. Green questioned the validity of the numbers because there are no explanations on how to conclude the total operations budget.
“I still don’t know where those figures come from,” he stated.
His two main concerns are that the report is two to three years old and it is not clearly defined as what is considered an operational cost.
Although Green did not join FCSD until the 2012-2013 year, he challenged the value of putting out information that is two to three years old because is does not reflect what the district is doing now.
Zais’ office released the numbers but gave no explanation on how the amounts were concluded and after doing research into the 2011-2012 year, Green could not figure out where those numbers came from.
“I can’t even challenge it because I don’t know how they come up with that figure,” Green noted. “It is something almost impossible to respond to because we don’t know where those numbers came from.”
Green stated that somewhere around 80 percent of the district’s expenses are currently tied up in salaries and legal expenses have been reduced nearly 60 percent since he has come on board.
Green questioned if bus drivers or cafeteria managers were classified as salaries or operational cost and is concerned that there wasn’t an explanation provided as to how those figures were compiled.
“These numbers almost create a perception that you’re spending money on things that aren’t necessarily related to educating a student and I would challenge that,” he said. “For me it is very difficult to say because how I don’t how he (Zais) is defining operational.”