If The DOE Only Gets $1.3 Billion In State Funding, Why Do They Spend So Much More?

Delaware Public School Funding

Avi with Newsworks made an excellent point last night in a comment.  He stated:

Wait. You’re saying the DOE spent $2 billion on employee compensation? They only receive about $1.3 billion overall from the state. Obviously there are other (much smaller) sources of revenue. But that still feels way off.

The reason the DOE shows such a high figure for employee compensation is because the paychecks are generated through the state.  So the entire cash flow for Delaware education has to flow through the state coffers.  Avi is right.  This duncehead somehow found the figure for employee compensation for all state employees.  That was the only thing I searched specifically for, so I apologize for the error and making you all do some math this morning!  In simple terms, my figures are way off.  But according to this breakdown from the Department of Education website, it shows how this could be.  Granted, this is for FY14, but it still shows the same basic formula:

State Source of Educational Revenue (2013-14)
Category 2013-14 Percentage
Federal $200,187,600.37 10.27%
State $1,147,977,149.19 58.88%
Local $601,621,774.97 30.86%

For FY15, the federal allocation is most likely smaller due to Race To The Top funds starting to dwindle.  If the DOE’s budget is $1.3 billion dollars in state money, than based on this chart, the total revenue in education dollars for Delaware would have to be $2.2 billion dollars.  This would mean local funding, usually in the form of school taxes, would have to generate $678 million dollars, and the feds would have to pony up $230 million dollars.  This is why a failed referendum can have disastrous results for a school district, like Christina recently had.  It’s also why rampant spending in the DOE on consultants and vendors, as well as very high salaries in their offices, takes away a lot of money from the classroom.  And yes, someone will go there, the districts could stand to shave off a lot of administrative costs.  How much do standardized tests really mean if the funding for it gets in the way of actual classroom learning?

This is also why charters taking away from local funding can also have a very bad result for a local district.  For a district like Milford, that doesn’t lost a lot of students to charters, it’s not that big of a deal.  But to a district like Christina or Red Clay, it is really bad.

11 thoughts on “If The DOE Only Gets $1.3 Billion In State Funding, Why Do They Spend So Much More?

  1. I’m still confused. There are about 18,500 employees in Delaware schools (I forget the exact #, but you can find it online). If the state were really spending $1.9 billion, that means the average employee makes about $105,000 per year. Obviously a small handful of admins do make six figures. But the vast majority of teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, etc. make a good deal less than $105,000. And there are way more teachers etc. than there are are admins. I’m not saying the mistake is yours. It could be whoever posted the data. But it still seems wrong.


  2. Here’s the breakdown of Delaware State School/District Staff (http://profiles.doe.k12.de.us/schoolprofiles/State/Default.aspx):

    Total: 18,403
    Teachers: 9,043
    Instructional Support: 2,335
    Secretaries: 1,629
    Maintenance: 1,581
    Food Services: 1,506
    Pupil Support: 1,273
    Administration: 830
    Librarians: 122
    Not Classified: 84

    And about 2,000 of the above are part-time employees.

    If, as you’re saying, the DOE spends $1,990,812,872.14 on employee compensation, that means the average employee makes $108,178.71 each year.

    That just can’t be the case.


  3. Employee Compensation would be a roll-up of salary + benefits & Other Employment Costs(OECs) I would think, right? “Take-home” pay wouldn’t be $108k. It would be $108k less whatever the State’s share of benefits and OECs is.

    At the district level, salaries are listed as “Salary” in a budget. Benefits & OECs are a separate item. Combined though, they constitute Employee Compensation. Might that be the case here?


  4. That’s a good point, Brian. Hadn’t considered that. $108k still feels really high to me, especially when you take into account part-timers, maintenance staff, food services, etc…but I guess health care costs are pretty high these days. I also wonder if employee compensation includes benefits for retirees.


    1. It’s wrong. Somehow I must have hit all for my search for it on DE Online Checkbook. If you look at the category “employee compensation” for the whole state, it is $1.9 billion. I’ll have to go back and search in every school district, charter and vo-tech to figure that one out. Sorry folks!


      1. Well I can give you Christina’s numbers for the State’s portion of salaries and benefits.

        2013-14: Salaries: $71,397,524 Benefits & OECs: $40,715,963
        Total: ~$112,113,487

        The checkbook, IMHO, is less than helpful when doing financial research. I’ve had better luck just combing through individual District budgets. I’d be more than willing to do some numbers work for/with you if you’d like. Let me know!


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