The Center for Governmental Research, based in Rochester, caused a stir when it published a study ranking per pupil spending in the nation’s school districts.
Buffalo ($26,903) and Rochester ($20,984) were ranked in the top 10 highest-spending districts.
Critics were quick to say, “Look, they spend the most, but have the worst results!”
It turns out, the districts spending the most per pupil have high poverty rates. That’s because CGR divided a district’s entire budget by enrollment. The Buffalo News reported:
The study calculated spending per student by dividing total district expenditures by total district enrollment, two figures that were pulled from federal Census of Governments data that was recently released, (CGR’s Kent) Gardner said.
He noted that the data was very “top-level.”
“We did a really rough-and-ready ranking,” he said.
The district per pupil spending figures included money spent on subsidized lunches, special education and support services. CGR even included the amount of money the districts siphon off to charter schools, even though it didn’t include charter school enrollment.
Forty million dollars of the Rochester City School District budget goes to charter schools, universal pre-kindergarten, food service, and incarcerated youth. Those are just some of the expenses lower-needs districts don’t incur.
I have no doubt there’s fat in the RCSD budget. But it would be interesting to see how much money each district spends on things that directly impact students. Measurements such as class size, course-offerings, extracurricular activities, field trips and support services would be interesting. I think you’d see very different results.
Links of the Day:
– A New York Times op-ed asks if great teachers can overcome poverty.
– A rebuttal to so-called liberal pundits attacking teachers.
– Were the latest round of Kodak layoffs one short?
– Four Bills games are at risk of being blacked out.