Top heavy or a group lift: Who does what in D51

It’s an assumption school districts and plenty of other organizations, public or private, are used to hearing – you’re top heavy. But what size is right?

District 51 is the 12th-largest school district in Colorado and home to 44 schools serving 22,105 students. Making those schools run and getting those students what they need every day takes teachers, counselors, secretaries, principals, assistant principals, nurses, health assistants, librarians, custodians, kitchen staff, special needs staff, and paraprofessionals of the highest caliber. We have more than 2,500 vital people serving in those roles in District 51 schools.

Running a school system this size also takes a smaller stable of people designing curriculum, keeping schools safe, training and coaching teachers, setting up technology, implementing Performance Based Learning, maintaining grounds and buildings, purchasing and warehousing needed items, overseeing financial services and budgets, hiring and recruiting employees, overseeing food services, helping families in need, coordinating athletics and gifted programming, helping English Language Learners, offering early childhood programs, making

sure kids attend school, coordinating assessments, helping kids with special accommodations, communicating with parents and staff, handling insurance, keeping up with regulations and complying with mandates.

Getting all of those moving parts working toward the same goal takes leadership. One superintendent oversees departments run by executive directors and directors. Are there more leaders than the Colorado districts closest to our size? No: there are fewer here than in the district right above us in enrollment size, Academy 20, and below us, Greeley 6.

Are D51 administrators paid more than leaders in similar-sized districts? Nope – not even close. There are fewer assistant superintendents and more executive directors in District 51 than in Academy 20 or Greeley 6. However, the executive directorship pay range in District 51 is generally lower than the director level pay range in Academy 20 and comparable to Greeley’s pay range for directors.

But don’t just take our word for it – check out this info-graphic for the facts, according to 2016-17 organizational charts and department listings.