Author Archives: Dan Whalen
During last night’s presidential debate, Romney touted Massachusetts’s public schools as being “the best” in the nation.
Well, there is no free lunch! Education spending made up a fifth of Massachusetts’ total state spending back when Romney was governor. This is spending is on par with most other New England states.
You can view the spending of any state (or county) as an interactive graph at Govistics.com for free. Here’s some examples:
New York – http://www.govistics.com/NY
Connecticut – http://www.govistics.com/CT
Maine – http://www.govistics.com/ME
Our recent analysis of school district spending data attracted attention of newspapers around the nation.
See how it was covered in:
- The Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah school districts dominate national list of low-spenders”
- The Rochester Business Journal: “Rochester district among top in nation for per-pupil spending”
- The Press-Enterprise (Los Angeles): “Temecula Valley among lowest spenders nationally, report says”
We here at Govistics are dedicated to communicating complex government data to the public, in a meaningful, actionable manner.
- The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
District of Columbia, Newark NJ, Buffalo NY Spent Most Per Pupil in 2010 Among Nation’s Large School DistrictsPosted by in Blog - (0 Comments)
District of Columbia, Newark NJ & Buffalo NY Spent Most Per Pupil in 2010 Among Nation’s Large School Districts
Of the largest school districts in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Newark, NJ and Buffalo, NY spent the most per pupil in 2010, according to an analysis by Govistics of recently released U.S. Census of Governments data. Per pupil spending was about $29,400 in D.C.; $28,600 in Newark; and $26,900 in Buffalo.
Next highest in per pupil spending were the districts in New York, NY; Jersey City, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; Rochester, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Boston, MA; and Cleveland, OH.
At the other end of the scale, the 10 districts with the lowest per pupil costs spent less ─ in some cases significantly less ─ than one-third the amount spent per pupil in 2010 in D.C., Newark or Buffalo, the Govistics analysis found. Govistics is a web-based product of the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) and provides interactive access to key government data on U.S. school districts and local governments.
Govistics examined total spending (e.g., instruction, administration, capital costs) for the 285 districts with enrollments of 25,000 or more students. The analysis found the 10 districts that spent the most per pupil and the 10 that spent the least were:
Spending Slow to Adjust with Enrollment
Districts appear to be slow to change spending with enrollment. Of the 21 districts that lost at least 10% of enrollment from 2005 to 2010, inflation-adjusted spending per student rose 16%. By contrast, in the 70 districts that grew at least 10%, inflation-adjusted spending per student dropped less than 1%, thus these districts essentially held spending constant.
The districts with the biggest enrollment gains and losses between 2005 and 2010 were:
Poverty is a Factor
Govistics’ ranking reports the share of students living below the federal poverty line in 2010. Districts with more than a quarter of their students in poverty spent an average (weighted for enrollment) of $15,000 per student compared with an average of $10,800 for the remaining large districts. Among the top 10 spenders, about one-third of students were below the federal poverty line. Cleveland and Cincinnati had the highest poverty in the group (45% and 40%, respectively), although Rochester (39%) and Buffalo (37%) were close behind. The simple connection between poverty and spending is not apparent when the entire group of large districts, both high poverty and low poverty, is considered.
Utah and California Stand Out Among Lowest Spending Group
One state – Utah – stands out for having a significant number of school districts (7) in the group that spent the least per pupil. Overall, large district per student spending in Utah ($7,743 in 2010) was 63% of the national average and 37% of top spender New York, whose large districts averaged $20,480. Five of California’s districts, where local education spending is limited by the state’s 1978 Proposition 13, were in the bottom 20. Los Angeles and San Francisco were the exceptions, ranking 33 and 34 in spending per student.
The lowest per pupil cost in 2010, however, belonged to Meridian, the largest district in Idaho with 49 schools in a 380-square-mile area near Boise. Cost per pupil for the district was about $6,900, unchanged from 2005 (after accounting for inflation).
In 2009, the New York State lotto collected $150 per capita in revenue, making it one of the highest grossing state lottos in the nation.
With its iconic branding and ubiquitous opportunities to buy, New Yorkers apparently find it hard to resist trying their luck. Hey, you never know, right?
For more, visit http://www.govistics.com/NY, and click on the “Revenue” button in the left hand column.
Every year, inaccurate or fraudulent property tax filings cost New York City millions in lost revenues. A new court ruling may better arm the city to enforce its tax code and make sure the proper amounts are collected.
Using Govistics, we can easily see property taxes make up 40% of NYC’s total tax revenues (chart 1). And with tax revenues representing 45% of the city’s total revenues (chart 2), we’re left with about a fifth of NYC’s current income coming from property taxes alone already!
If better enforcement results in higher collection rates, this could be a major boon to the Big Apple’s coffers.
Over the past decade, tax revenues in Gold Bar, WA have grown well above the rate of inflation. And it looks like things may be about to get even worse….
“Lawsuit-plagued Washington town mulls tax increase, not dissolution,” By Laura L. Myers, Reuters, 7/17/12
Chicago’s City Hall and the Cook County government plan to consolidate some services and spending, anticipating combined savings of $33.4 million.
Much of the savings will be attributable to workforce reductions.
Visit http://www.govistics.com/IL/COOK and click on “EMPLOYMENT” and/or “PAYROLL” (on the left) to learn more about Cook County’s employees – how many there are, what they do, and what they are paid.
“City, county say $33.4 million to be saved through cooperation,” By Kristen Mack, Chicago Tribune, 7/2/12