Friday, December 18, 2009

FY 2009 Per Pupil Expenditures

Just out of curiosity, earlier in the week I pulled up the Georgia Department of Education web site to see if updated figures for per pupil expenditures had been posted. I was pleased to find that the numbers for FY 2009 were, in fact, there. The amounts for FY 2008 came out back in February, and I was not expecting the corresponding figures for the next fiscal year to be up just yet.

So, without further ado, let’s run the numbers. Insofar as Clarke County’s neighboring school districts were concerned, the per pupil expenditures for FY 2008 were:

Barrow County $7968.16
Commerce City $8692.96
Jackson County $10,279.22
Jefferson City $7738.37
Madison County $8942.75
Oconee County $8542.34
Oglethorpe County $8756.68
State Average $8965.24 (apparently revised from the $8967.83 posted last February)

For FY 2009, the per pupil expenditures were:

Barrow County $7987.92 (+0.25% from FY 2008)
Commerce City $8582.85 (-1.27% from FY 2008)
Jackson County $9689.45 (-5.74% from FY 2008)
Jefferson City $7592.71 (-1.88% from FY 2008)
Madison County $9037.65 (+1.06% from FY 2008)
Oconee County $8577.80 (+0.42% from FY 2008)
Oglethorpe County $8369.55 (-4.42% from FY 2008)
State Average $8895.28 (-0.78% from FY 2008)

Thus, the changes in per pupil expenditures for the school systems noted fell within a narrow band, some coming in a little lower and some a little higher (the percentage calculations are my own). Of course, with the drop in local and state tax revenues, this was to be expected.

But what about the Clarke County School District? Imagine my surprise to find that the revenue and expenditure entries for Clarke County merely read “Data not Reported by this District for this Fiscal Year.”

That being the case, I called the DOE’s Financial Review office over in Atlanta to see what was amiss. In response to my questions, I was told: that the CCSD got its information in late, but that such had been submitted and the revenue and expenditure reports on the state web site would be updated at some point (the Financial Review staff being busily at work of some quarterly report at present) and that it is the Financial Review folks who calculate per pupil expenditures based on the DOE’s FTE count and the expenditure data supplied by the CCSD (which is as I suspected).

As a point of reference, the CCSD’s per pupil expenditure for FY 2008 was $11,180.05. As an aside, I am glad to see that the CCSD has finally started using the most recent, not to mention easily verifiable, information for this figure as opposed to its past practice of employing dated and un-sourced figures. Readers may remember the minor debate concerning per pupil expenditures during the run-up to last year’s Board of Education elections (see here, here, and here).

I will post and comment on the CCSD’s per pupil expenditures for FY 2009 as soon as the information becomes available.

For what it is worth, Clarke County was one of only seven school systems (out of 185) for which revenue and expenditure information is not posted. There was only one such school system in 2008 and only two in 2007.

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Anonymous said...

If you adjusted ACC per capita spending inline with "normal" expenditures, what would be the average rebate to the tax digest? Or what's a guestimate for the overspending in the ACC, in toto?

james said...

According to my calculations concerning FY 2008 per pupil expenditures, the CCSD spent 24.67% above the state average ($11,180.05 and $8967.83, respectively), a level of expenditures placed the CCSD in the 95th percentile of the more than 180 school systems statewide.

I do not have the time at the moment to figure out the specifics, but rest assured that if the CCSD maintained expenditures at the state average, that difference of $2212.22 would lower the CCSD’s portion of the millage rate, currently pegged at the constitutionally mandated maximum of 20 mills, by a significant amount.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response.

I think the BOE should adopt as a policy objective bringing its per pupil spending in line with the state average.

At some point, the ACC M&O MUST demand this from the BOE. So far, the city/county government has borne the brunt of criticism even while it's the BOE that's spending like ... well, insert your own metaphor or simile here.