JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) – A report released Thursday by State Auditor Shad White reveals Mississippi teachers were given smaller raises on average than superintendents, deputy superintendents and assistant principals from the fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2016.
“We have some great school districts doing an excellent job putting money into teachers and the classroom, but the overall data clearly show a concerning trend,” White said in a news release. “We as parents, taxpayers, and teachers need to demand that money be spent closest to the students.”
According to the report, the ratio of deputy superintendents to students increased compared to the ratio of teachers to students since 2013.
“Mississippi is not doing considerably worse than our peer states that we surveyed for this report, and that is a good thing,” White said. “But we’ve got to be better stewards of public education funds than our surrounding states if we’re going to catch up.”
A previous report on public education spending from White’s office released in April 2019 showed the state’s spending on administrative costs has increased faster than spending on classroom instruction over the last 10 years.
Another report in November 2019 revealed Mississippi spends more money outside the classroom than most other states in the South. Spending per student on teachers’ salaries decreased by 3% over the last decade while spending on administrator pay has increased by 10%, adjusting for inflation.
“I was educated in our public schools from kindergarten to my graduation from a Mississippi public university, and my mother was a public school teacher here for 35 years, working on her feet, every day. My grandmother and grandfather met as public school teachers in Mississippi. I have a deep, personal commitment to making sure money is spent effectively in our schools,” White said.
White announced that his office is launching a pilot project with three state school districts in June to use the latest data analytics technology to save money on administrative costs that will allow that money to be used for teachers and classrooms. The project is expected to be complete in early 2021.