Basic Math: Octorara’s $18,981.93 Per-Student Price Tag

mathnumberWithin my articles, I often reference $18,000 as Octorara’s per-student cost. I round this number down, because I don’t want to be accused of inflating numbers to benefit my arguments.

Today, I received a request to explain this number. I’m sure others are interested. So, here is the break down.

First, there are three numbers everyone needs to know:

  • 2013-14 Final Budget: $47,492,791
  • Charter School Tuition: $2,099,505  (per 2013-14 budget presentation)
  • 2013-14 Enrollment: 2,502 students (per September 9th Work Session Meeting)

Know these numbers, and the District’s per-student cost is an easy calculation:

  • $18,981.93 per-student based on total budget
  • $18,142.80 per-student excluding charter tuition

This is the burden we, as taxpayers, have to pay in total for salaries, benefits, books, building maintenance, debt, and all other budgetary items necessary to run the District.

As we can see, the total cost is much closer to $19,000 than $18,000. However, given the adjustment for tuition paid to charter schools, the per-student cost could be said to be just over $18,000.

Of the average per-student cost, from the District’s 2013-14 Budget Presentation, 57.6% is salaries & benefits, and 14.2% goes toward debt service.

During the budget process, the District promoted $15,579 as the more accurate per-student cost, stating this was the actual cost to educate. However, their 2013-14 Budget Presentation does not explain how that number is calculated, and it only adds up to $38.9 Million of the total $47.5 Million budget.

At the end of the day, there are really only two numbers people are concerned about.. the total budget and the property tax mill rate. The District’s “more accurate per-student cost” does not represent the actual cost to taxpayers. It is merely smoke and mirrors.

If you have a question about any numbers or facts I post, please feel free to message me using the Contact Page.

One thought on “Basic Math: Octorara’s $18,981.93 Per-Student Price Tag

  1. Tim,

    you will be a fantastic school board member with your true facts, and without your newspaper we would still be lost by the biased information created by blogs that distort information. We are all voting for you!

    Thank you and keep up the good work!

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