From John Duskey '63
Looking at Campion with Today's Costs
by John Duskey
The Operation of boarding school like Campion, in today's economy, would be much more expensive than the operation of Campion sixty years ago. There is information available from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) which makes it possible to assign expenses, in today's dollars, to the employee workload of a school that Campion was 'back in the day.' This study will show the extent of the demands placed on faculty, especially considering the school's relatively simple structure. It will also demonstrate the impressive value of the services provided by Jesuit priests, scholastics, and brothers. Keep in mind that the system in effect today is that the school pays the religious order, at market value, for the services of their priests, scholastics, and brothers. Then the religious order may give a donation to the school, if it chooses to do so.
For this investigation, the school year 1959-60 was chosen. Thorough information is available from the Knight yearbook, and the redbook directory, and from personal recollections. And there were few mid-year changes that would make the calculations more complex.
Current-day cost figures are drawn from the NAIS report "Data and Analysis for School Leadership" (DASL) for the year 2018-2019. They are applied to the various positions that existed (administration, faculty, and staff) as they existed at Campion during the 1959-60 school year.
It is clear from this basic information that the Jesuits, in their operation of Campion High School did a lot more, with a lot less staff and a lot less money. The key number is the ratio of students to full time equivalent total staff. For the contemporary schools in the NAIS study, this number was 2.92 to 1. In other words, a school with the median enrollment of 318 would have 109 full time equivalent staff. In 1959-60, Campion's 575 students were served by 59 total staff, a ratio of 9.74 to 1.
Campion had eight positions in Administration: President, Principal, Assistant Principal, Treasurer, Superintendent, Director of Admissions, Registrar, and Athletic Director. In order to compare these with the NAIS study, some equivalent titles had to be used. Superintendent became Director of Physical Plant. Principal became Associate head. Assistant Principal became Assistant head. Other positions had identical titles in the NAIS study: President, Director of Admissions, Athletic Director. Altogether the 8 administrative positions would command salaries totaling $942,127.00 in today's dollars.
Thirty-one of Campion's 34 faculty positions could be divided among five departments: there were 6 History teachers, 10 English and Speech teachers, 5 Math teachers, 2 Science teachers, and 8 teachers of Latin, Greek, and Spanish. There was also one music teacher and two librarians.
Religion is not listed among these five departments. During the 1959-60 academic year, Religion classes were all taught in a special half-hour class period. They were taught by the Jesuit priests, in addition to their other duties. Nearly all of the priests on the faculty taught Religion. Also, costs of the ROTC program were not considered here.
The eleven positions held by Jesuit scholastics, for purposes of this study, were assigned the Teacher Median Lowest Salary, $36,050 per year. One teacher position in each department was given the designation of Median of highest salary for teachers, $82,387 per year. The other teaching positions were assigned the Median of median salary for teachers, $52,218 per year. The two librarian positions were assigned, one with the median highest salary for librarians, and one with the median lowest salary for librarians. The total replacement salaries were estimated to be $1,721,539.00 for the 34 faculty positions at Campion in the 1959-60 year.
III. Support Staff
Seven Jesuit brothers, two nurses, an Alumni Secretary and an Office secretary compose the listed members of the support staff. Six of these brothers' positions were classified as Other Staff at the median lowest salary. One brother's position was classified as Maintenance Staff at median highest salary. (It should be noted, additionally, that one Jesuit brother was the school's Registrar, a position that is listed as administration.)
The position of Head Nurse was listed as Health Staff at the median highest salary, and the Nursing Assistant was listed as Health Staff at the median lowest salary. The Alumni Secretary position was listed at the median salary for a Director of Alumni Affairs. The office secretary position was listed as Secretarial Staff at the median lowest salary.
The total estimated salary for listed support staff positions at Campion was $484,943.00.
Then there is the question of staff whose positions were not listed in the redbook directory. These are only estimates, but it seems logical that there were at least three Maintenance staff positions at median lowest salary, and one kitchen staff position at median highest salary, and two other kitchen staff positions at median lowest salary. At these rates, the cost of these positions would be $ 194,618.00 today.
IV. Summation of expenditures on salaries and other costs
Figuring all these costs, the total would come to $3,343,227.00, if these positions were to be filled at salary rates in effect for the 2017-18 school year, according to the NAIS study. This would amount to $5,814.00 per student, as Campion had 575 students in the year studied here. But of this $3,343,227.00, $2,635,701.00 represents services contributed by the Jesuits, 78.8% of the school's expenses on salaries. Of course, the school also accepted the liability for utility, maintenance, and food costs to meet the needs of resident Jesuits.
It is important to note that a school such as Campion would incur substantial additional costs, especially in the cost of heat, electricity and water. There would also be substantial expenditures on food at the cafeteria, and for general upkeep and maintenance on all the buildings on campus.
V. Staffing comparisons
Looking once again at the ratio of students to full time equivalent total staff, which, for the contemporary schools in the NAIS study, was 2.92. For those of us who knew Campion in that era as a school with a 9.74 ratio, it would be a chore to figure out what all the extra employees would be doing. Some thoughts about this are presented here:
1. Smaller class size. Average class size at Campion in 1959-60 was 31.9. The NAIS study indicates that their median class size for grades 9-12 was only 12. This means the number of teachers would be much larger.
2. More elective courses. Electives are expensive, as more offerings usually lead to smaller class sizes, and to hiring some specialized faculty. Areas of study would be added, including biology, music and art, that we didn’t have in 1959-60 at Campion.
3. Additional support personnel. This would include teacher assistants and teacher aides, as well as help for students learning English as a second language. There would be Dormitory supervisors, in a contemporary situation, whereas Campion had Jesuit scholastics and priests supervising the dorms. There would be additional help in the athletic program and in the health staff, kitchen staff, and in the library.
4. Technology and technology support. There would be added staff (and equipment) required for a complete, up-to-date technology program.
5. Security. It is reasonable to assume there would be a need for security staff. Like other items on this list, this is something we never would have thought of back in the 1950s and early 1960s.
The school we knew in 1959-60 focused on Math, Latin, English, Religion, History, Physics and Chemistry. There were a few other subjects, but institutional focus was centered on these classical elements. The model of teaching was relatively simple, one teacher, thirty students in the classroom. This enabled Campion to have a 16.9 to 1 student to teacher ratio and a 9.74 to 1 student to total staff ratio. Costs would be low using this model, and they were even lower with most of the instructional and administrative costs coming from the services of the Jesuits. The tuition paid to Campion in those days represented a small fraction of the real costs at fair market value.
Elite boarding high schools exist today. There were 189 schools in the NAIS study. They have tuition averaging over $50,000.00 per year, and annual giving programs which bring in millions every year. They have millions of dollars in endowment funds. They provide students with a broad range of learning experiences and a lot of individual attention. The model we experienced at Campion in 1959-60 was great for us at that time, but it would be a tough sell in the market conditions today.
Resources: Campion Knight 1960, Campion redbook, 1959-60, and
National Association of Independent Schools, accessed 6/24/2019