School administrators in Davis County have had to stretch their resources to cover the needs of a growing number of students.
But too often, administrators say, there is simply not enough of them to go around. In fact, the Davis School District is near the bottom among the state's 41 districts when it comes to the number of administrators per students.According to 1995-96 statistics, Utah schools had the fewest administrators in proportion to the number of students. In 1996-97, the state had the third-fewest administrators, said Nate Taggart, spokesman for the Utah State Office of Education.
The average Utah district had one principal or assistant principal for every 485 schoolchildren. Davis had one for every 519 students.
Northridge High School Principal Michael Duckworth is an advocate for a change in district policy that would automatically add more assistant principals in a school that experiences large population growth.
While Duckworth was at Davis High, the school grew from 1,600 students to more than 2,000.
"As those numbers grew, we got more teachers but during that same time, there was not an additional assistant principal brought in," he said.
District spokeswoman Sandra Wilkins said part of the problem is that while Davis County is the third most populated county in the state, it has a smaller tax base because there are more residents than businesses.
"We would have more administrators to assist if we could afford it," said Superintendent Darrell K. White. Most of the district's money, he said, is spent on classroom instruction for students.
Phil Oyler, executive director of the Utah Secondary School Principals Association, said that not only are there fewer principals, but they also struggle with less non-administrative help, such as counselors and deans of students.
"Basically administrators in Utah work extra hard and carry the heaviest loads in the country," said Steven H. Peterson, executive director of the Utah School Superintendents Association and associate director of the Utah School Board Association.