The District also spent a lot of its own money, racking up a combined local and federal total of $15,414 in spending per pupil in average daily attendance. That, too, was more than any state, nearly doubling the national average of $8,899.The district also spent nearly $1,000 on two levels of administrators per student to ensure textbook purchases. Pathetic!
Given that half the District’s school buildings don’t have working air-conditioners and half the schools won’t have their books on time, you might be tempted to guess that the District spends more money on, say, teachers than on facilities and administrators. Don’t give in to the temptation.
In 2003-2004, says NCES, the District spent $1,869 per student on “capital outlays.” That was money “for the acquisition of land and buildings; building construction, remodeling, and additions; the initial installation or extension of service systems and other built-in equipment; and site improvement.” Additionally, the District spent $1,464 per student on “operation and maintenance.” This included “salary, benefits, supplies, and contractual fees for supervision of operations and maintenance, operating buildings (heating, lighting, ventilating, repair, and replacement), care and upkeep of grounds and equipment, vehicle operations and maintenance (other than student transportation), security, and other operations and maintenance services.”
That means the District spent a total of $3,333 per student to make sure there were enough new and remodeled buildings and sufficient maintenance staff to keep the air-conditioners going. Of all the states, only frozen Alaska approached this level of spending for facilities and maintenance, spending a combined $3,220 per student on these two categories.
DC Public Schools have been a long running nightmare for a decades. Between poor and crumbling facilities and poor management, the schools have been an administrative failure for a long time. A great many times, new superintendants come into DC promising to reform the education and they make noise about strenghtening curricula, improving the quality of teachers, reducing class sizes, etc. Butr rarely is any attention paid to the actual business operations of the school bureaucracy.
Educators and public school advocates will tell you over and over that education cannot be run like a business with market forces in plat etc. While that is debatable and a worthy debate, certainly the business practices of the schools can be run much more efficiently. If Amazaon.com can track hundreds of thousands of titles, in multiple locations, and maked hundreds of thousands of deliveries per day and know exactly where everything is, sure a school disctrict should be able to do the same.