Anyway. I don’t know if it’s the spring weather, but I have seen an awful lot of women lately wearing leggings. Not a skirt-leggings combo, not a long tunic/very, very short minidress and leggings combo, nothing. Just chicks trying to pretend that pants are leggings. Which… no. No, leggings are not pants.
I get that leggings are comfortable. I get that with a knee-high boot, especially if the boot fits the calf tightly, that zipping pants in there can be tricky, if not downright impossible (and let me say, as an aside: do not, under any circumstances, think that it would be best to wear gaucho pants to deal with this vexing issue, because gaucho pants are quite possibly as ridiculous as sequined genie pants).
But the thing is, leggings are not pants.
I know I’m reiterating what the folks over at Go Fug Yourself say all the time, but they’re right. I’m right. Leggings are not pants. They’re close. Only, so much easier, because you don’t have to deal with all the fit points that vary from woman to woman. However. Still. Not. Pants.
A couple of similarities, sadly, does not make something the same as.
So to sum up this piece of advice? Leggings are not pants. Please don’t wear them like they are. Thank you.
Second. Professional development coaches for teachers are not teachers. They may have been teachers. They may be certified as teachers. But a teacher, in a school district, is someone who’s primary job is to teach STUDENTS, not teachers. And a coach’s primary job? To help the teachers do better. Not to teach gen-u-ine students. Do I understand that some schools use their coaches as both teachers and coaches? I do. And, in fact, a coach could, in such cases, be split-billed. But the time they spend training? Doesn't count as being a classroom teacher. So, advice point number two: professional development coaches aren’t teachers. Do not get confused on this issue.
And we’re on to my somewhat related riddle (to the issue of coaches vs. teachers, not leggings vs. pants). It's going to take me a little explaining before I get to my riddle/question.
So... I'm a little suspicious that there may be some shuffling around of funds and categories to conceal (not in an illegal sense, but in a tiresome, banally misleading one) the way money is really being spent in SPS. Why? I was, while avoiding weeding, looking at the school look-up doohickey produced for the school board budget workshop. While this document shouldn’t be taken as final (it's "for discussion and comment"), it probably gives a pretty good idea of what’s coming down the line (and also, appears to correspond pretty closely with the budgets that have been sent to schools). And the thing is… the total budget for all schools comes to about $304m.
So... wait a second.
The total budget is $558m (ish). And school budgets include stuff like the principal, the teachers, counselors, librarians, supplies and instructional assistants. And if $304 is spent on all that, this means that about 55% of spending in the district is in schools.
Which is kind of weird. Because the district says in its very own operating budget that “In addition to Teaching, and Principal’s Office activities, the majority of Teaching Support staff and activities occur in school buildings.” I know. Bla, bla, bla, bla bo-ring. Still. You might want to pay attention.
The district said that for 2009-10, it planned on spending 61% of its budget on Teaching, 5% on Principal’s Office, and 14% on Teaching Support. Weirdly, Instead of adding to 54%-ish, that total comes to 80%. Hmmm. It might be one thing if we were dealing with a plus/minus of 5% or so. But we’re looking at a plus/minus of over 25% of a $558 miiiillllllllion (no, I couldn’t resist) budget. I get that I'm doing a little bit of an apples to oranges comparison, because the $304m for schools is for 2010-11, and I'm comparing it to 2009-10 and doing a little extrapolating. Still, $64m is a lot of inconsistency.
Usually, I see weird numbers, investigate them like I'm some kind of bizarre terrier, and more or less sort out why they’re anomalous.
But I can’t tell you why there is a $68 million discrepancy between what the district says it spends on teachers and the principal’s office, and what the district says it plans on spending to fully staff every school in the district. But it's a pretty significant chunk of change. I could guess where it's being spent, but I am cynical, and suspicious, and my answer might rhyme with "Ventral Defenestration."
You might have noticed that there is a crappy chart. I’ve gone ahead and posted the link to google docs, so that besides the terrible bitmap, you can read it a wee bit more closely.
So my riddle is this: do you know why there’s a discrepancy?
And that’s all for the Crappy! Chart! Thursday! version of a hat trick. Advice, chart, question. Good night.
Update: Maureen's comment rang a bell about a public information request I'd filed about the central office. It yielded me a not-very-useful spreadsheet at the time, as it included OTs, PTs and the like, which I could see were central costs, but not central administration costs. However, it's useful as it pertains to this question. I went through it and totted up every nurse, OT, PT, psychologist, IA, teacher, instrumental music teacher and anyone who looked like they worked in a school (no. I didn't put coaches in there), and whose actual job was to work with students. The salary total came to $12m; throw in benefits (which, if one looks at district salary and benefit expenses, appear to run at about 27%, so let's say we're at $16m-ish. The schools that are opening this fall will likely run $2m to $3m a pop (I actually ran some averages based on enrollment sizes for elementary schools), so let's chuck in an additional $6m to $9m. And let's imagine that there are $15m of teachers and principals on leave. So, from $68m as a discrepancy, we would be able to say the discrepancy has dropped $37 or $40m-ish, leaving a $28 to $31m discrepancy.
Except. The discrepancy I noted is between the total being spent on schools and Teaching Activities plus Principal's Office.
Another gander at the Always Fun 2009-10 Operating Budget reveals that nurses, OTs, PTs, counselors and the like are billed under Teaching Support, which... would remove that money from the noted discrepancy. The description about the Teaching Support segment, by the by, also mentions that coaches are included in the category. Huh. Does this mean we have more coaches than the district is letting on? I don't know.
Anyway. So... add in the opening schools ($6-9m) , and maybe some teachers and principals on leave ($15m?), and I think we're probably still looking at some $40m in dissonance.