Editorial: Examine administrative overhead before cutting where it hurts

San Benito High School officials have taken a short-sighted
approach toward necessary cuts by merely focusing on employees who
walk the front lines and get paid little to do it.
San Benito High School officials have taken a short-sighted approach toward necessary cuts by merely focusing on employees who walk the front lines and get paid little to do it.

That was the case when trustees last week looked at laying off 11 classified workers while reducing hours for 10 others to cut $515,000 from the budget. “Classified” is union speak for support staff such as guidance technicians and library assistants.

By targeting these workers, school officials have avoided the inevitable public outcry that comes with teacher layoffs while also protecting their own – the district’s upper class of secluded, six-figure administrators.

Especially at a time when student performance needs a big boost around here, and when there are fewer and fewer dollars to go around, these types of dedicated employees, the support staff, are as valuable as ever. They shouldn’t be the only workers asked to walk the plank. Not when many of them are dealing with some of the most complex problems on a 3,000-student campus.

This community simply cannot afford the classroom experience at San Benito High School to decline. That is what school officials are promoting without first considering whether reducing administrative overhead might make more sense, both financially and toward maintaining the utmost academic environment.

Why not first consider how many administrative positions might be expendable, or how many over-glorified positions can be merged, before eliminating 11 jobs in a classic case of cuts to the pieces of the puzzle that often matter most?

Where is that open discussion? Where is the transparency when it comes to administrative overhead?

We don’t see it, and it sure would be nice to have that information before throwing in the towel.

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