Consolidation, by the numbers

Published 9:59 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

A cautionary note for community leaders who are serious about heading off the day of fiscal reckoning that awaits Franklin and Southampton County governments in the next couple of years:

Agents of the status quo and protectors of entrenched bureaucracies will spring up at every turn, seeking to block needed reforms.

They already are hard at work — from a Southampton County Social Services board that nixed a mere study of the possibility of partnering with Franklin in the delivery of welfare services, to the member of the Southampton School Board Selection Commission (the group that has brought us de facto lifetime appointments to the county school board) declaring, remarkably, in a letter on this page Wednesday that there’s no money to be saved through school consolidation.

Let’s, for a moment, take off the table school buildings and student transfers, since those are used most often to scare citizens on the topic of school consolidation. Let’s stipulate that, in the first 10 years of a consolidated Franklin-Southampton public school division, not a single school building would close, not a single new school would be built, and not a single student would be moved to a new attendance zone and thus forced to change schools. To get to the crux of the matter and kill the consolidation bogeyman, let’s stipulate that not a single student now attending Southampton Middle School would be forced to attend J.P. King Middle School.

Instead, let’s focus strictly on central-office administration and the cost-cutting opportunities that consolidation would create. Following is a list of jobs and compensation in the Franklin and Southampton public school central offices.

(I have purposely omitted the names of the people who hold the jobs, as they are fine people who do their jobs well. My purpose is not to embarrass any individual but to reveal the scope of the huge bureaucracy that is public school administration in Franklin and Southampton County.)


Superintendent of education ($98,000)*
Transportation administrator ($70,122)
Secretary ($40,263)
Secretary ($35,178
Assistant superintendent of administrative services ($91,706)
Lead teacher for instruction ($60,635)
Network systems administrator ($74,798)
Data manager ($58,978)
Secretary ($40,904)
Desktop specialist ($52,171)
Instructional technology resource teacher ($52,184)
Lead teacher for special education ($68,049)
Associate director of instruction ($88,543)
Coordinator of testing ($76,131)
Director of special education ($69,406)
Payroll specialist ($50,571)
Executive assistant to superintendent ($53,271)
Supervisor of food/support service ($82,247)
Accounts specialist ($52,301)

* The superintendent’s salary does not reflect any increase under the terms of a three-year contract extension approved by the school board in January. Curiously, the contract has not been made public some four months later after the board’s vote to extend it.

Southampton County

Division superintendent ($128,544)
Assistant superintendent for instruction/Title I ($96,724)
Coordinator of instructional services/data disaggregator ($74,404)
Director of finance ($65,201)
Director of special education ($75,959)
Educational diagnostician ($55,640)
Executive director of administration and personnel ($93,520)
Executive director of operation ($94,712)
School psychologist ($61,805)
School psychologist ($45,883)
Special education specialist ($43,766)
Supervisor for career/technical education ($70,860)
Supervisor of food services ($40,154)
Technology specialist ($65,902)
Visiting teacher ($61,431)
Accounting technician ($40,623)
Administrative secretary II/testing processer ($36,800)
Budget analyst ($59,882)
Computer technologist ($43,546)
Computer technologist ($37,130)
Evaluator/secretary/bookkeeper ($41,977)
Executive assistant ($42,327)
Secretary III ($25,261)
Secretary III ($22,958)
Secretary III/accounting technician ($23,296)Secretary III/receptionist/licensure specialist ($25,066)

For those keeping score at home, it’s Southampton $1.473 million, Franklin $1.215 million in central-office salaries alone — for divisions with a combined enrollment of roughly 4,000 students.

Figuring, conservatively, a one-third reduction that would result from a consolidated central office, that’s $900,000 a year back in the pockets of city and county taxpayers — without a single student changing schools or a single teacher being laid off.

Such numbers will be helpful in the months ahead for community leaders who seek to rise above the noise of the naysayers.

STEVE STEWART is publisher of The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is