Maybe Pinellas isn't fat only at the top?
There’s been a lot of attention on how top heavy the Pinellas school district is (or was). As the district wrestles with budget cuts, there’s a constant drumbeat to cut administrative pay, or administrators, period.
Which makes recent comments from Pinellas teachers union executive director Marshall Ogletree all the more interesting.
In this morning’s story comparing the financial predicaments of Pinellas and Hillsborough, Ogletree said the district has been “overstaffed” given its declining enrollment numbers. “We have staffing that we probably don’t need,” he was quoted as saying. “In good times, we put that in.” He wasn’t referring to administrators.
“Many of our areas are overstaffed in Pinellas County,” Ogletree also said, in remarks that were not in the story. “We probably have more teachers per student than other districts have.”
“When we were losing student enrollment but we weren’t really losing personnel, that’s an indication that, ‘Do you really need all those positions?” he also said. “We have staff positions and coaching positions that weren’t required by the state. There are certain coaching positions required by (differentiated accountability), but at one time I think we had them in every school. That is overstaffing when you don’t have a whole lot of money.”
For what it’s worth, the number of instructional units in Pinellas grew from 7,356 in 2004 to a peak of 8,516 in 2007. Over that same period, the number of instructional staff statewide grew from 177,017 to 194,159 (also a high water mark). Put another way, the instructional ranks jumped by 15.8 percent in Pinellas over that time, compared to 9.7 percent statewide.
At the same time, student enrollment in Pinellas declined by 3.4 percent over that period while it grew 5.5 percent statewide.
Between 2007 and 2010, the number of instructional units in Pinellas had dipped to 8,135, a 4.4 percent drop, while statewide they have fallen 0.9 percent, to 192,464.
You can see the year-to-year statewide instructional unit numbers here (go to figure 3). You can see the district numbers by clicking on the attachment below.
On a related note, Pinellas had more than 400 teachers on special assignment in 2006, according to a story we found in the Times archives. We’re not sure how many the district has now, and how the numbers have changed over time. We’ve asked the district for that information, but we’re not sure how long it will take to get. If we get it, we’ll share it.