Buz Mills backpedals on education 'administrator' claims
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Buz Mills backpedals on education 'administrator' claims

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Buz Mills has backed away from claims that Arizona schools have as many administrators as they do teachers.

The candidate made that claim in a Twitter exchange with Heat City's Nick Martin two weeks ago.

Reports Heat City:

At the time, he was asked what he would like to see cut from the state budget to pay for his plan to beef up immigration enforcement.

"Education," Mills tweeted. "1:1 ratio of administrators to teachers. Cut admin to appropriate level – improve education while freeing budget $$$"

In a weekend interview, Mills had to change course when questioned by Brahm Resnik of Phoenix's KPNX (Channel 12).

Resnik documented that Arizona public schools employ about 3,400 administrators, far less than the 55,000 that Mills maintained.

From Heat City:

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(Mills said:) "The numbers can't be that far off."

"They are that far off," Resnik told him.

The host said there are about 120,000 total employees in Arizona schools. A little less than half of them (55,000) are teachers, while about 4 percent are administrators. Resnik also said there are twice as many janitors as administrators.

Mills quickly began to backpedal from his claim.

"Did I say administrators, or did I say support personnel?" Mills said. "My recollection is that we had one-for-one. One backup person for every person on the front line."

Mills said he was never talking about administrators only, but instead about all the public school employees other than teachers, including, apparently, janitors.

Disclosure: Dylan Smith’s wife is a teacher in the Tucson Unified School District.

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1 comment on this story

May 25, 2010, 1:52 pm
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It’s great to see Buzz Mills’ ridiculous statement refuted so effectively by Resnik.

But let’s not forget, the line originated with the Goldwater Institute—G.I. maintains there is “an almost 1-to-1 teacher to bureaucrat ratio,” and Mills went one step further and made it administrators.

And let’s also not forget that, while Mills backed down, Goldwater Institute still maintains it’s correct to include people like bus drivers under the “bureaucrat” umbrella.

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