Monday, April 27, 2015

School spending update

In a March post, I provided some information from the state's public database, the Taxpayer's Guide to Education Spending, to compare per pupil costs in the county's high school and K-12 districts with Newton High School's tuition rate. Here is an update with newly released data from the 2013-14 school year:

Sussex County K-12 and High School Districts 
2013-14 Actual Budgetary Per Pupil Costs* 

High Point                   $19,789
Hopatcong                   $17,543
Vernon                         $16,726
Sussex Tech                $16,333
Wallkill Valley           $16,317
Kittatinny                   $16,199
Newton                       $14,852
Newton HS tuition      $14,613
Sparta                         $14,572
Lenape Valley            $13,964

*Budgetary Per Pupil Cost allows a comparison of the costs included in a district's general and special revenue fund budgets (including early childhood aid) associated with serving students who are educated within the district's schools. The main subcomponents of this measure are: classroom instruction; support services (attendance and social work, health, guidance, child study team, educational media/school library services, and improvement of instruction services); administration (general, school and business administration); operations and maintenance of facilities; and extra-curricular activities. Current expenses are the instructional costs of regular and special programs offered to students as well as the normal operating costs of the district. The costs included in this calculation are the costs of governance, support, and instruction that are considered common to all school districts and generally are uniform among them. Examples of expenses that are part of this indicator include salaries and fringe benefits of staff, textbooks, supplies and materials, rentals, insurance, legal fees and other purchased professional, technical, and property services. Certain items that generally are not common and uniform between districts are excluded to allow the meaningful comparison of costs. Expenses that are omitted from the calculation include: pensions paid by the state on behalf of districts, local contribution to special revenue, tuition expenditures, interest payments on the lease purchase of buildings, transportation costs, residential costs, and judgments against the school district. Also excluded from this per pupil calculation are equipment purchases, facilities acquisition and construction services, expenditures funded by restricted local, state and federal grants (other than the special revenue funds noted above), and debt service expenditures.

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