Costs double as enrollment declines

Finally, thanks to the technical know-how of friends, you can view an abbreviated spreadsheet showing enrollment numbers and per pupil costs for elementary students  in the Timberlane Regional District.  From 2000 – 2010, elementary enrollment has dropped in the four towns by an average of 20%  while costs per pupil have escalated 111%.  Before you click on the spreadsheet linked below for more details, you should know:

  • The spreadsheet labelled “Per Pupil Costs 2000-2010” is a vastly abbreviated version of a spreadsheet provided by State Representative  Weyler of Kingston.  Rep. Weyler’s figures were prepared by the Legislative Budget Assistant’s Office. I’ve provided an abbreviated version specific to Timberlane and simpler to read.
  • Rep. Weyler’s entire spreadsheet, provided below, is four pages and includes information on 23 towns as well as percent change in town valuations, among many other municipal comparisons.
  • Representative Weyler did not provide statistics for high schools.  If I understood his answer when I asked him,  the per pupil costs were too difficult to compare at the high school level.

Although it is dismaying to see costs more than double over a ten year period while enrollment shrinks markedly, it is instructive to note that Timberlane’s overall per pupil costs have averaged 4.5% below the state average during this period. While we’re looking to the state for perspective, New Hampshire’s total public school enrollment declined by only 4.5% ( 205,299  to 197,160) in the decade.  DOE http://www.education.nh.gov/data/attendance.htm.

But per pupil cost does not tell the whole story. According to the Department of Education website, “Cost per Pupil is based on current expenditures as reported on each school district’s Annual Financial Report (DOE-25). Cost per pupil represents current expenditures less tuition and transportation costs. Any food service revenue is deducted from current expenditures before dividing by ADM in attendance. Capital and debt service are not current expenditures and are not included.”  For us to really understand how our costs have escalated, we have to compare the bottom line budget figure for 2000-2010.  I will do this in my next post.

Here is the abbreviated spreadsheet with Timberlane figures: Per Pupil Cost 2000 to 2010

Rep. Weyler’s entire spreadsheet (with thanks):  Ten Year Comparison of Selected Municipal Data

You can find per pupil ten year figures at the DOE site here:  http://www.education.nh.gov/data/financial.htm

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Filed under Budget Committee, School Board Issues

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