Monday, April 19, 2004


State Sen. Ron Raikes of Lincoln requested some information about school budgets from the State Auditor in the legislative session just ended. The results are so eye-opening, Go Big Ed will take a week to take a hard look.

Raikes led the charge to try to close all Class 1 schools -- the little ones in rural areas that dot the state as evidence of Nebraska’s one-room schoolhouse heritage. He was seeking information on those that have no students, teachers or administrators, or some combination thereof, and yet still are obtaining state aid to education . . . kind of like ‘’ghost schools.’’

The review turned up five of them with budget requests totaling $359,128.

We’ll take a closer look at how that works. But additional data revealed in the report is so instructive, in the words of the ancient scholars, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Anybody who ever wondered where the money goes in education might want to stay tuned for more on facts like:

Full-time teachers: 21,197

Full-time administrators: 1,504

Student-to-teacher ratio statewide: 13:1 (much higher than that in the elementary grades and much lower than that in the secondary grades)

Student-to-administrator ratio statewide: 189:1

Total teacher salaries: $967.9 million

Total administrator salaries: $115.4 million

Average teacher salary: $45,662

Average administrator salary: $76,746

Stay tuned this week. It’s going to be fun, isn’t it?


One in a series on Nebraska school finance issues based on a March 4, 2004, report from the office of State Auditor Kate Witek prepared for State Sen. Ronald Raikes. Data sources included the September 2003 Fall Personnel Report from the Nebraska Department of Education, and other 2003-04 statistical information reported by districts to the state.

For Nebraska public education spending reports, see statewide and individual district annual report information on:


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