Reductions in SpEd para staffing – 2016-17 and 2017-18 compared, from SFUSD’s own data

Last May, UESF held a rally as an early stage of our contract campaign.  About 700 people turned out, as I recall, and many of them were really angry about the Sped staffing consolidations that had just been announced at many school sites.  This was a burning issue for many UESF members.  How could SFUSD justify reducing support for the most vulnerable students, when it was already impossible to provide them with the services they needed with the resources provided?  SpEd teachers and paras often make up the difference by just working even harder!  Anyone who has worked in a school knows that the SpEd teachers jobs are insanely difficult and every year they get harder, and now the district was reducing para support as well!

Here is a cropped image of the spreadsheet comparing the staffing numbers for the two years, with some lines hidden to make it fit in a screenshot.  The full spreadsheet and the original data file are linked here.sped para staffing comparison 1617 to 1718 cropped.jpg

The “job code desc” that are listed in the data file can’t be actual job positions because there weren’t 2789 paras working in SFUSD last year.   Again it seems that SFUSD has found a way to answer my query while kind of muddying the answer.  Any help and suggestions are welcome.


A useful blog about the mining of public education for profit

“Wrench in the Gears” is a blog that I highly recommend.   When I read something written by Alison McDowell, the author, I think, “Wow, that’s really creepy and scary, I wonder if it’s true?” and then within a week that very issue will have popped up here in SF.

She is a Philadelphia public school parent who researches the “Ed-Tech Colonization” of public schools in Phillie and elsewhere.

Please check it out.

Wrench in the Gears A Skeptical Parent’s Thoughts on Digital Curriculum

screens-faces wrench in the gears

philadelphia-social-impact-investing wrench in the gears

SFUSD nearly tripled money spent on top administrators between 2009 and 2018

The table below briefly summarizes how SFUSD has increased the number of top administrators and increased their pay as well, from 2009 to 2018.  Notes and methodology follow the table.

SFUSD top salaries w detail


In Row #8, you can see that going from the 2016-17 to the 2017-18 school year, while pleading poverty during contract negotiations with all its unionized employees, and while significantly reducing services to its special education students, SFUSD increased the number of “top administrative positions” by 35 and the amount of money spent on those salaries by almost 4 million dollars!  That’s almost enough for a one percent raise for all UESF members!  Shouldn’t those millions be spent on the classroom rather than on central office “suits”?  What do they do to serve San Francisco students that is worth that much?

Row #2 shows the year when the impact of the 2008 recession was felt the most in SFUSD’s budget.   The savings due to six fewer positions is cancelled out by an average seven percent raise for those remaining!   These are the years when teachers and paraprofessionals took furlough days and the security guards had their hours reduced permanently by an hour a day!  Less for those who actually work directly with students and more for 555 Franklin St.!

By comparing rows #1 and #8, you can see that both the numbers of top administrators and the amount spent on their salaries has almost tripled over nine years.  These figures show a clear trend – UPWARDS!

The average annual “raises” are estimates.  I removed one or two outliers, and otherwise took an average, without being sure whether the pay increases of individuals were due to promotions or due to pay increases for the same positions.   However, these central office employees got decent to great pay increases every year, considerably more than those who work directly with students!  This reveals that SFUSD’s priorities are not the classroom!

Caution:  Two data sets were obtained by public record requests from SFUSD, and used as received.   This can be used to see a clear general trends and patterns (UPWARD), but further work is needed to find out more particulars.   Here and here are the raw data files.  I made a specific request for people who were administrators, but SFUSD gave me ALL salaries for everyone who works at 555 Franklin (or is considered central office staff but might work elsewhere) for all six years in one big file!

Methodology:  Intrepid fighting teachers from Balboa HS got the first data set in 2013, and I got the second one this past December.  I used the following criteria to select the top paid administrators and then I took care that the analysis is internally consistent (compares apples to apples).  First, if an individual was included in the first data set, then I continued to include that job title when I chose job titles to include from the second data set.  Second, I sorted each year by salary, and dropped everyone making less than $83,000 (in 2013), then went back and added back in a few people who made less than the cutoff but had the included job title, and finally removed folks with high salaries who’s job title suggested they actually did stuff , like asbestos abatement or statistics.  Sorry that’s my bias, but I have been consistent.   It is only two data sets and surely contains errors, for which I apologize.  I spent many hours working on this.