By Jon Cassidy | Ohio Watchdog
COLUMBUS — Ohio schools spend more on bureaucracy than every other state in the nation except Colorado and Oregon.
Schools statewide spend a total of 13.2 percent of their budgets on administration, higher than the percentages in 47 other states.
The national average is 10.8 percent. The numbers come from The Book of the States 2012, which compares budgets from fiscal year 2009.
That 13.2 percent represents some $2.56 billion in expenditures on regional and local school administrators out of $19.4 billion spent on K-12 education expenses.
(Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Ohio as second, due to this reporter’s seriously subpar Excel skills.)
Ohio Education Matters, a non-partisan policy group, also found a bloated bureaucracy in a 2011 benchmark study. That study identified $248 million in potential savings just in central administration, if all 609 school districts brought their spending into line with the state’s more cost-effective districts.
The study found a total of $1.4 billion in savings if those efficiencies were produced in all categories. For example, school districts in Ohio’s eight metropolitan areas could save as much as $238 million just by coordinating the transportation of charter and private school students.
In cutting state support for local schools by 16.4 percent, Gov. John Kasich’s administration pushed to get school districts to adopt some of the report’s recommendations, which include better regional support, regional purchasing pools for employee health insurance, and more use of digital education.
We’ve asked Andrew Benson, executive director of Ohio Education Matters, to update us once he’s back in the office on whether those changes are taking place.
Incidentally, Ohio also had the 12th highest dropout rate for girls (at 3.8 percent) and 20th highest dropout rate for boys (at 4.3 percent), according to data in The Book of the States 2012.