School budget raises some questions

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

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Arnold Kling, Silver Spring

The Dec. 13 article on the school budget contained some very interesting facts, which in turn raise some questions.

For example, if you divide school enrollment of 137,798 by number of employees, 21,840, you get a ratio of one employee for every 6.3 students. My daughters have been in classes that are four or five times that big. Apparently, the vast majority of school system employees do not teach in a classroom.

The story said that 89 percent of the $1.98 billion budget goes to employee compensation. Dividing this by the number of employees gives average compensation of $80,686 per employee. If the non-teaching staff are bus drivers, cafeteria workers and janitors, then they are very well paid!

If the county should ever elect an official who represents taxpayers and parents rather than being teachers union-approved, that official might want to ask questions about this. Start by asking what all of the non-teaching staff are being paid to do, and whether it is really worth as much as the work of classroom teachers.