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East Penn Schools are Frugally Staffed, Seidenberger Says

East Penn Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger cites numbers from a recent Pennsylvania School Boards Association Survey to demonstrate that East Penn School District isn't over-staffed.

East Penn Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger told the East Penn Board of School Directors that the school district is pretty lean and mean – at least as far at staffing numbers go.

Referencing an annual staffing survey by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), Seidenberger told the board at its Sept. 10 meeting that according to the survey results, East Penn staffing tends toward the “frugal” side.

In particular, Seidenberger pointed out that when comparing East Penn to districts of a similar “wealth factor,” East Penn runs a fairly streamlined operation.

Among the many numbers Seidenberger recited include the fact that districts in a comparable income bracket to East Penn reported a ratio of 12.9 students per faculty member and 187 students per administrator, while East Penn’s numbers in these areas are 15.5 students per faculty member and 217 students per administrator.

The state average for students per administrator is 157.4 students.

“We are not heavy in faculty or management,” Seidenberger said. “I think that people can say at least that we are frugal on staff. We are above the state averages. For people who think we are overstaffed, I don’t think that is the case at all.”

Seidenberger’s presentation came on the heels of the board’s Aug. 27 meeting at which School Director Lynn Donches made a last-minute motion to eliminate an assistant principal at Emmaus High School.

During the discussion of her motion, Donches said that taxpayers had been asking her about the number of administrators in East Penn and termed the district “top heavy.” The measure was defeated 5-2.

Ron Beitler September 18, 2012 at 11:53 AM
This should be compared on a performance scale, not a wealth factor scale. Take high performing schools by whatever measuring stick schools are measured by.. and compare our staffing to other schools on that scale. If we are higher in terms of staffing then we need to reduce if we are lower in terms of staffing then we should figure out what positions if any we don't have that correlate with success and consider them. I don't like comparing district to district based on "wealth factor" from an outcomes standpoint I'm not sure what it accomplishes.
Melissa Moyer-Schneck September 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM
What does wealth have to do with how our schools are staffed? I don't pick a school district because there are wealthy people in it, I pick a school district based on how educated the kids are who are going through it, based on test scores the state releases....wealth has no factor when the kids the district is turning out can't read and write........just sayin'
ted.dobracki September 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Wealth, unfortunately does have something to do with it. Schools from poorer districts use the poor socio-economic backgrounds as an explanation for their poor performance. If this is so, the converse must also be true. This begs a very simple comparison, which, if I had more time, I might eventually try to develop> Perhaps some else can before I'm able to. It's actually quite simple: 1) Rank the 500 PA school districts test performance from bottom to top as percentiles 1%-100%, with five districts in each percentile. 2) Rank the 500 PA school districts test wealth from bottom to top as percentiles 1%-100%, with five districts in each percentile. 3) Compute a value added factor for each school district, where VALUE ADDED = TEST PERCENTILE - WEALTH PERCENTILE. 4) A positive "VALUE ADDED" indicates a tested performance higher than the wealth rating, while a negative "VALUE ADDED" would indicate a tested performance lower than the wealth rating.
Ron Beitler September 18, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Yes. Socioeconomic conditions of a district have more to do in general with good parenting then pumping money into a bureaucracy.
thesilentmajority September 18, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Enough already. Parkland and East Penn are not the highest performing schools in the Lehigh Valley. If you look at the 2011 PSSA proficient or above percentages across all tested subjects(math,reading,science,writing) of all the districts in Lehigh Co., Northampton Co. & Carbon Co. you would not see East Penn at the top. It would look something more like this, in order: Parkland SD, Saucon Valley SD, Southern Lehigh SD, Salisbury SD, Wilson Area SD, East Penn SD. Let's give credit where credit is due. There are several districts in the valley that are outperforming East Penn. East Penn is a good school district as are many districts in our area but they are not at the top!!
Lanya September 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Getting back to the point...whether East Penn is first, second, or fifth in the Valley, it's still among those six top-ranking area districts that you listed, all of which are in the wealthier areas of the Valley. Ted is absolutely correct.
Reaganite September 24, 2012 at 07:59 PM
How the hell can we prove Seidenberger's theory. When Donches asked for a monthly breakdown of cash flow and expenses, she was told no, because it was never done before. Then Earnshaw (who works for Fortune 500 company, as he has told us 1,000,000 times) said his company never does the numbers monthly. Yeah right... WHAT A CROCK. How is our funding to PSEA pensions. The state pension fund just a lost a ton of cash in the market...money the taxpayers have to make up in increased property taxes. How did Seidenberg cut $60K out of the bus runs, then after the budget is passed found the $60K and hired another teacher too. Money practices in EPSD are too loose. Everything is done in executive committee and then voted on. Stolz and Donches are not the brightest bulbs but they're trying to get some accountability out of the school board.

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