Warning: this article contains lots of numbers. Typically, I try to use as few numbers as possible to inform (or start) a discussion. But the accounting system used by our school districts makes it tough to share these numbers in a simple way.
The numbers here represent additional compensation paid to public education employees in Alabama’s school districts for FY14 (fiscal year 2014, meaning the time period from October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014) that is above and beyond salary amounts.
The accounting system used by Alabama’s school districts uses “object codes” 191-199 to identify “cost related to salary expense that is extra in nature and not part of the regular contract, salary, or wage of the employee”.
Specifically, they are:
- 191 – Supplements
- 192 – Stipends
- 193 – Expense Allowance
- 194 – Overtime
- 195 – Compensation for Unused Leave
- 196 – Teacher Incentives
- 197 – Head Athletic Coach
- 198 – Assistant Athletic Coach
- 199 – Other Compensation
It is important to understand that these object codes can be used for any type of employee (e.g., teachers, principals, groundskeepers) and for any department (e.g., Instruction, Transportation, Operations, Central Office, etc.).
There will be further breakdowns in future posts, but the tables below represent a total amount for each school district for each object code.
There are no common definitions of what is a stipend versus a supplement. Nor what “teacher incentives” actually are.
So for now, we can simply look at the numbers. And if you have questions about what you see, consider contacting someone at your district’s central office and ask them to explain these numbers. They certainly should be able to do so.
Yes, there are lots of numbers in the tables below, but you do have control over how you view them. Use the drop-down lists within each table to pare down your view to only those variables you wish to see. You can also choose which school districts you choose to see.
The image below depicts totals for all school districts in Alabama for FY14. Notice the total amount of additional compensation above and beyond salaries paid is $107.8 million.
Note also that the amounts paid by local school districts for supplements for head and assistant athletic coaches is $37.6 million. That amount only reflects the additional compensation paid to athletic coaches in Alabama’s schools.
There was lots of talk on the floors of the House and Senate this week about funding textbooks and other items in the Foundation Program. It is important to understand that boards of education do, in fact, have discretion over how large hunks of money are spent, and school officials are choosing to spend money given to them for education in various ways based on the priorities within their school communities.
Each district has its own way of reporting these amounts and using these object codes, so it is difficult to simply compare, say, supplements (code 191) from one district to the next.
Eyeballing the table below reveals how differently these additional compensation amounts are reported.
One note about the table below: Lowndes County has been the recent recipient of federal grants, which appear to be reported in the supplements column.
The table below combines all variables reported and measured. Scroll through the variables using the scroll bar at the bottom of the chart.
This table shows a simplistic dollars per student/certified FTE/total FTE. “FTE” stands for “full-time equivalent” and can be most simply thought of as one position. The distinction of “certified” means that the person holding the position must be certified by the state to hold that position.
The full spreadsheet is available at this link if you’d like to work with the numbers yourself.
If you have questions, please post them here and we can seek answers together.