From Atlanta Public Schools’ downtown headquarters, an expensive bureaucracy sprawls across the city, with costs per student that dwarf those in neighboring school districts.
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Staff writer Daarel Burnette contributed to this article.
HOW MANY IS TOO MANY?
School district…Administrators per 1,000 students
Source: Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts FY2012 salary and position data
How we got the story
As Atlanta school board members debated their budget, staff writer Mark Niesse noticed administration jobs weren’t touched. He found Georgia Department of Education numbers showing Atlanta Public Schools had the highest general administration costs per student in the state, and accountant Jarod Apperson shared a spreadsheet comparing administrative salaries by job title. Niesse then analyzed the number of administrators across 10 school districts and crunched national figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. The numbers consistently showed Atlanta Public Schools’ administration spending was higher than its peers. Niesse spent several weeks reviewing the data and interviewing school leaders, financial experts, education policy analysts and concerned parents.