Good old Jack Wells. Strong in the Force is that one! When State Rep. Val Longhurst released her final report on the SAIL Task Force, which is basically asking for more education funding for after-school programs, the News Journal took the bait. But so did Jack Wells, Delaware’s financial Yoda (especially with Red Clay funds). So much so he wrote a very public letter to Rep. Longhurst.
TO: House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst;
I support your efforts for more affordable after-school programs and bring together a collection of leading after-school care providers, educators and state agencies. To be honest I believe many expenditures being charged to education revenue should be the responsibility of other state agencies.
In fiscal year 2016, DID our districts and charter schools expend more per student on EPER athletics, EPER extra curricular activities, and EPER miscellaneous, than on providing additional help to our children to improve their achievement in reading, math and other critical subjects. I have no doubt very little of the $35 million expended for EPER was expended to provide additional assistance to improve the achievement of our children in reading, math, and other critical subjects.
After reading the recommendations regarding the lack of after school programs being provided to our children, I cannot help but wonder why no comments where made on the after school programs currently being provided to our children by our districts and charter schools, programs that are funded from local school taxes, I would estimate at a cost of $35 million dollars.
Last year our districts and charter schools expended $19,043,456 to cover the salary cost for Extra Pay for Extra Responsibilities, EPER, when you include pension cost, 22.28% and other employment cost, 18.83% the cost for EPER compensation was $26,872,126.
In addition $2,335,617 was expended for Athletic Equipment and Supplies and $2,510,162 for Student Body Activities, added to these cost, must be custodian overtime, transportation, maintaining facilities, game officials, security, energy, association dues, conference fees, uniforms, etc..
The question which must be answered is, How and where was this $35 million dollars used. What I do know is that EPER has 3 categories, Athletics, Extra Curricular Activities and Miscellaneous, shown below are compensation cost for each category. I believe it’s reasonable to believe that almost all of the compensation cost for EPER Athletics, $9,559,540 was used in our 9-12 grade schools, as was the cost of game officials, conference fees, supplies and equipment, maintaining facilities, etc..
I also know that last year the principals in Red Clay 9-12 grade schools expended $439.53 per student, while the principals in K-5 expended $173.85 and middle school principals $198.97. Why the difference? Was it EPER?
Shown below are the salary, pension and Other Employment cost for each category of EPER.
Salary Pension OEC Total
$6,774,596 $1,509,379 $1,275,565 $9,559,540 Athletics
$5,750,613 $1,281,236 $1,082,840 $8,114,689 Extra Curricular Activities
$6,518,247 $1,452,265 $1,227,385 $9,197,897 Miscellaneous.
Finally I would like to point out that the local salary cost for EPER of $19,043,456 is only exceeded by the local salary cost of our teachers, principals, assistant principals, custodians and salaries general, clearly this is a major local expense that only a very few have any idea of how and where it is being used and how it benefits our children.
Are our K-5 and 6-8 grade students being provided the same amount of local revenue for additional programs as our high schools? Does the funding of athletics have a higher priority than funding additional help to our children who need help in reading, math, etc.?
I ask that you Statewide Afterschool Initiative Learning Task Force review how and where EPER expenditures are used and report your findings to the residents when requesting additional revenue.