By: Gerry Nutter – January, 2011
Last February now former State Sen. Steve Panagiotakos proclaimed “The Private Can’t afford the Public Sector anymore.” As we begin 2011 those words need to be kept in mind as area school committees’ negotiate new contracts with teachers and administrators.
Nowhere is this more relevant than The Greater Lowell Technical High School. This school committee has a long history of overpaying administrators and spending without having to justify it to the City and towns because they have a state formula that needs to be overhauled and they take full advantage of that. They never really cared about what the City of Lowell or the towns had to face.
To make my case that the Tech school board needs an overhaul I went to The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website which collects a variety of data from schools and districts in the state, so as they say, let’s look at the numbers from the 2009/2010 School year (the 2010/2011 numbers aren’t available on line) Since Dunstable doesn’t have its’ own school system, no numbers are listed for them.
Lowell paid $4,488,895.00 in administrative cost which accounted for 2.34% of their total budget. This comes to $335 per pupil
Dracut paid $1,086,760 in administrative cost which accounted for 2.64% of their total budget. This comes to $260 per pupil
Tyngsboro paid $674,617 in administrative cost which accounted for 2.98% of their total budget. This comes to $327 per pupil
Greater Lowell Tech paid $1,642,094 in administrative cost which accounted for 4.69% of their total budget. This comes to $ 856 per pupil.
How can one school with 2,040 students justify spending 2.5 % more per pupil in administrative cost then their largest feeder system which has 23 schools and 13,331 students? They are spending in administrative cost close to double of all the schools that send students to the Tech.
This is the same committee with 1 exception who gave the last Supt. A 69% raise over 7 years. No wonder administrative costs are so high.
The Tech school has 2,040 students compared to the City of Lowell with over 13,000 yet look at the cost difference they spend on Guidance, Counseling and Testing.
Lowell in 2009 spent $4,020,743 2.09% of their budget on these cost.
Per pupil $299.00
Dracut $799,237 or 1.94% with a per pupil cost of $191.00
Tyngsboro $566,772 or 2.50% with a per pupil cost of $275.00
Greater Lowell Tech $1,642,732 or 4.70% with a per pupil cost of $857.00
Again across the board the Greater Lowell Tech spends a much higher percentage than all three of the feeder communities. Why isn’t someone looking at the numbers and asking how is this allowed to happen?
How about the cost of Operations and Maintenance?
Lowell spent $9,911,852.00 or 5.16% of the budget with a per pupil cost of $737.00
Dracut spent $4,365,562 or 10.59% of the budget with a per pupil cost of $1,040.00
Tyngsboro spent $1,854,570 or 8.18% of the budget with a per pupil cost of $900.00
The Tech spent $3,489,977 0r 9.98% of the budget with a per pupil cost of $1,820.00
The Tech cost per pupil is doubled that of two out of the three schools systems that feed them and over 1.5 % higher than Dracut’s.
People complain about the high cost of Insurance and retirement that Lowell and the towns have to pay. Greater Lowell again pays a higher percent of cost and per pupil cost than any of the feeder communities.
In 2009 Greater Lowell Tech in Insurance, Retirement Programs and Other (has it is listed on the site) spent 17.76% of their budget with a per pupil cost of $3,240. That is $1,000 more than the State average. Compared to Lowell which has a high enough rate at 16.27% with a per pupil cost of $2,324 which itself is $110 higher than the state average of $2,214.(Tyngsboro paid 13.94% while Dracut is also high at 17.71% but is well under the per pupil state average.)
It is time for the four Lowell members to act responsible to the voters who put them there and stop granting excessive contracts and not caring about the City which you are supposed to represent. Just because the school itself is not in Lowell you were elected by the Lowell voters and you need to respect them and the children who attend the city High School.
In regards to the two members who are up for re-election in 2011, The Public Sector can no longer afford to them to run the Tech like it is a Private School with unlimited funds.
As a wise man told us: The Private can’t afford the Public Sector
All numbers can be found on the website of the The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at http://profiles.doe.mass.edu.