Jefferson Co. schools audit also reveals disconnect on technology in classroom

05/23/2014 09:49 AM

In addition to finding “bureaucratic bloat” in Kentucky’s largest school district, state Auditor Adam Edelen discovered a disconnect between teachers and principals over their perceptions of the availability of tablet computers and other technology.

Part of the 260-page audit report that came out this week included survey results of Jefferson County teachers and principals that showed that 41.7 percent of teachers said tablets and E-readers were “widely available” in the classroom, while 75 percent of principals thought that.

“What that speaks to is a level of administration that isn’t keenly aware of what’s going on in the classroom,” Edelen said (8:30 of the interview).

Edelen said tablet computers and E-readers need to be more prevalent to prepare students for the demands of the modern workforce and because they can be cheaper in the long haul for schools than buying multiple text books per student.

Edelen released the results of the audit on Wednesday at the auditorium of the Jefferson County Public Schools’ office.

Among the biggest findings about the $1.2 billion Jefferson County Public Schools was that the district had 369 administrators making $100,000 or more a year, which is more than the number of people making six-figure salaries in the executive branch of Kentucky’s state government.

Here’s what Edelen said about that in an interview with Pure Politics:

The audit was the 16th special audit of a school district Edelen has conducted. Some of the same themes keep coming up, like lax board oversight of district finances. That led to Edelen pushing a bill that passed the 2014 General Assembly to increase financial training for school board members and require new standards for school finance officers.

“If we’re going to make these more effective, it’s going to involve the continued presence of Terry Holliday, the state commissioner of education,” Edelen said (7:15). Edelen said Holliday has been “taking a leadership role” in adding accountability to schools.

As for the administrators making high salaries, Edelen said JCPS leaders need to look at the central office where 150 employees make $100,000 or more. That number is three times the number of similarly-paid administrators in benchmark school districts elsewhere, like Charlotte, N.C., and Pinnellas County, Fla.

“They already have a hiring freeze in place, so as these positions become vacant, they’re not in a rush … to fill them. But one thing that I believe JCPS can do and is going to do in short order is to totally re-evaluate the salary structure in the central office and determine who needs to be making what and what functions can be streamlined,” Edelen said (2:40 of the interview)


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