Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

High Priced Administrators at the Duval County School Board

As Duval County School administrators brainstorm over how they will deal with a projected $112 million cut in funding, they have tossed out a number of recommendations, including:

  • A hiring freeze to save $1.5 million
  • Impose central management of funds and close dormant purchase orders to save $5.5 million (You would think they would already have this implemented!)
  • Renegotiate contracts with employees to save $8.1 million
  • Stop televised broadcasts of School Board meetings to save $315,000 (Of course, in this day of webcasts and podcasts one can only imagine why the DCSB needs to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make themselves accessible to the community.  Just stick a webcam in the back of the room and put it on a webcast.  Or, just tape it and stick it on YouTube.  FOR FREE!)

One of the things that hasn’t been mentioned; however, has been any reduction in the salaries and benefits of Administrators.  Or, for that matter, any reduction in the number of Administrative Staff.  In February 2008, Ed Pratt-Dannals saw his salary bumped 73% to an annual salary of $275,000 when he took the Superintendent’s slot from Joey Wise.  (Of course, the School Board also paid $275,000 to get rid of Wise.  By the way…weren’t they going to try to recover some of that severance package based on a breach of contract?)  In addition to Mr. Pratt-Dannals salary, 37 other Duval County School employees make in excess of $100,000 and 299 make in excess of $75,000.  

The Management Team includes over 30 employees, all of whom are supported by a massive support staff at the School District’s riverfront headquarters.  The land underneath that headquarters is valued by the Duval County Property Appraiser at $9.3 million.

While teachers in the classroom have born the brunt of the budget cuts, there has been no indication from Mr. Pratt-Dannals that he is willing to consider reducing his salary or cutting the salaries of some of his administrators.  There has also been no serious discussion of moving out of their riverfront digs.

For now, it appears the best the district is able to come up with is asking for more sacrifices from their teachers and cutting out the publicly televised meetings of the school board.


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7 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. MD says:

    Great article. I fully agree with what you said. There are way too many high-paid administrators working for the school board. In addition, since I used to work there, many of them collect a fat paycheck for doing nothing but sitting on their hind ends all day, having a merry old time. Seems they are just sitting it out until retirement. Such a shame…

  2. John Gault says:

    is that a suprise to anyone? Get rid of the skyway express, eliminate useless classes, test teachers so that we only have the best and brightest, sell the school board building and make their pay incentive based!

  3. Davdi Paternoster says:

    It seems pretty simple to me, we should exhaust ALL cost saving opportunities within the adminstation & school board side BEFORE we even consider making cuts at the school level. There is no plausible reason why we can’t have a volenteer school board, if existing members don’t want to serve, so be it. Believe me they CAN be replaced. It’s not like they are doing such a magnificient job that they are irreplacable….we “the people” need to push this agenda. This is contrary to the existing boards self interest and being politicians, one could reasonably argue most of their priorities lie in self interest and personal power.

  4. A Teacher says:

    A Friend posted this on her web page. I thought it said what I feel.
    “Budget cuts hurt your children. We are 50th in the country (HELLO-that’s LAST) in per pupil spending. I wonder if they are cutting per inmate spending…doubt it. We can educate them now or we can support them later!”
    How can we get the state to cut prison spending and transfer that to schools?

  5. Marty says:

    I have said all along that ALL CITY DEPARTMENTS are top heavy, loaded with political appointees drawing in excess of six figures to do basically nothing. The pain needs to start at the top and work down. They are talking about cutting my wife (administrative support at a school) by one hour per day and two to four weeks of furlough during the summer, that furlough being of course, non paid. I bet the top management team at DCSB won’t have their paychecks affected with the furlough. Take a look at them all, City Hall, JEA, JPA (that’s JPA x 2 since they split and made a whole nuther management tower) JSO who has take home police cars driving all over the city in an off duty status, loads and loads of fat in this City that if attacked properly could just about elminate the budget problems. Ever wonder how much gas is spent in take home city vehicles of all departments? Why not limit them to only driving a City vehicle when they are on the payroll. Could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in gas and maintenance alone.

    I for one, an educated retired person would volunteer to sit the School Board if they needed the help so getting rid of a paid Board is a no-brainer. Let’s look at extensive staffs the City Council Members have, I could just go on and on but I have to go and pay my garbage and rain water fee and I have to try to figure out how to make ends meet you see, my wife and I didn’t get a 73% raise this year…….

  6. Marty says:

    Oh by the way, why isn’t the Teachers Union raising the BS flag over this injustice to bring it to the attention of the citizens of Jacksonville?????? Probably in someone’s pocket at the riverfront palace……

  7. Dave says:

    I agree top administrators should have their pay cut. However, that would amount to a proverbial drop in the bucket.

    Teachers are underpaid. Would you even consider becoming a teacher for their salaries?

    Classrooms are overcrowded.

    Yes, we need to cut the waste, and not just administrators’ salaries. It’s absurd to replace books every few years, in most subjects. (Basic math, reading and science haven’t changed much since I was a child.) It’s absurd to have buildings pretty much empty over the summer – changing at least our high schools to a modified calendar that encouraged students to spend the summer in the classroom and take a few months off in the Spring or Fall could alleviate overcrowding at minimal expense. I’m sure there are plenty of other options out there.

    Regardless of how much we can save through common-sense changes, I’d be surprised if it would make up for the increases in teachers’ salaries that are needed, or for the disparities in facilities between the “good” schools and some of the other schools in town.

    The bottom line is, education should be a priority.


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