Saving Schools through Cost Savings
Today, the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that a consulting firm hired to examine the school system has identified more than $19 million in cost-savings that can be implemented over the next five years.
One of the greatest concerns raised in the report was that Petersburg spends less per pupil on actual instruction compared to five other Virginia school districts with similar demographics, including Hopewell, however, the administrative costs on a per-pupil basis was the highest.
For example, Hopewell had 3.75 principals or assistant principals for every 1,000 students in 2004-05, Petersburg had 5.29. Hopewell had 16.05 teacher aides per 1,000 students, compared with Petersburg's 9.15.
When four of Petersburg’s seven public schools are unaccredited and the school system has the second highest high school drop out rate in Virginia, it appears clear that the same old way of doing business is not helping the students in Petersburg schools. Hopefully this report will serve as a first step in infusing some badly needed new ideas into the Petersburg school system.