Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ranking the local school districts on spending

Jackson Jambalaya reviewed the 2009* audits of the school districts in the Jackson metro area. There are few surprises. For example, Rankin and Canton spent nearly the same amount of money on instructional costs per student (Teachers salaries) yet have different results on the report cards. One disturbing trend: the majority-black districts consistently ranked the highest in administrative costs while the majority-white ones usually ranked the lowest. One interesting fact was most of the schools spent within $250 per student on instructional costs. Another interesting fact was Rankin spent the lowest on general administration costs per student, $211, and did not even spend half the amount per student spent by the leader, Hinds. Despite all the criticism leveled at the Rankin County School District for being "top-heavy", the audits reveal it probably does the best job in the area of keeping administrative costs down. Here are the rankings. Read and weep.

Total cost per student:
1. Madison: $10,296 (High performing)
2. JPS: $9,848 (Academic watch)
3. Hinds: $9,628 (Successful)
4. Rankin: $9,661 (High performing)
5. Canton: $9,499 (At risk of failing)
6. Pearl: $8,904 (High performing)
7. Clinton: $8,802 (High performing)

Instructional cost per student:

1. Rankin: $5,631 (High performing)
2. Canton: $5,489 (At risk of failing)
3. JPS: $5,475 (Academic watch)
4. Madison: $5,381 (High performing)
5. Pearl: $5,368 (High performing)
6. Clinton: $5,219 (High performing)
7. Hinds: $4,998 (Successful)

General Administration cost per student:

1. Hinds: $517 (Successful)
2. Canton: $446 (At risk of failing)
3. Pearl: $384 (High performing)
4. JPS: $317 (Academic Watch)
5. Clinton: $278 (High performing)
6. Madison: $230 (High performing)
7. Rankin: $211 (High performing)

School Administration cost per student:

1. Rankin: $542 (High performing)
2. Canton: $518 (At risk of failing)
3. JPS: $502 (Academic Watch)
4. Hinds: $487 (Successful)
5. Clinton: $484 (High performing)
6. Pearl: $439 (High performing)
7. Madison: $428 (High performing)

Other costs per student:
1. Madison: $4,877 (High performing)
2. Hinds: $3,626 (Successful)
3. JPS: $3,555 (Academic watch)
4. Rankin: $3,277 (High performing)
5. Canton: $3,046 (At risk of failing)
6. Clinton: $2,821 (High performing)
7. Pearl: $2,713 (High performing)

*I used the 2009 audits because JPS has not provided any more recent audits to the auditor's office and didn't want to get into apples v. oranges. When more recent JPS audits become available, I will update the rankings. Data was taken from audits published by the State Auditor on his website. The information is found on pages 50's and 60's in the audits, after the federal funding table.


Anonymous said...

I have heard that part of the disparity in expenses-per-student is due to the obligation to provide Special Ed to handicapped students. Is this expense broken out separately in each district? The cost to teach an average student academics should be easily compared by district, but if you through in costs associated with physical therapy, one-on-one teaching assistants, etc, the cost per student can skyrocket due to costs beyond the control of the district, and give a false impression that a district is spending way more on EACH student than another district. There is apparently a mich higher chance that a black child will be routed into special ed, so a district with a larger proportion of black students might be expected to have a higher total tab.

Anonymous said...

I've got a friend who teaches special ed in a public school. She has said that some of the mommas get their kids classified with a "learning disability" so they can get more gov't $$$. This classification usually means that the kids require specialized instruction. KF have you heard anything about this?47

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a special ed student, I can tell you from personal observation that every child I have ever encountered that is a special ed student clearly and obviously needs to be in a special ed program. So what is your point????? It really disgusts me that almost every discussion of public education includes some people complaining about special ed kids and how much money they believe is being wasted on special ed programs. The truth is Mississippi spends significantly less on special education as compared to other states, just as it generally spends less on other aspects of public education. So, find something else to complain about and quit dogging special ed kids. They have enough to deal with without your attitude.

Shadowfax said...

Regardless, 3:32, it is a fact that many parents do get their kids into various safety net situations in order to get a monthly payout. Many crudely refer to that as 'crazy checks'. But, again, YOUR particular situation notwithstanding, it is a rampant fact.

Anonymous said...

3:32 we're trying to tease out the cost per student for students who do NOT require special ed, for an apples-to-apples comparison.

Shadowfax said...

It occurred to me that someone might axe me to provide backup for my assertion (above). Some school districts are rampant with the fraud perpetrated by their (usually) single parents in order to get their children classified by the district as 'behaviorally challenged, disruptive, a frequent fighter, acts out, can't pay attention (on and on) in order to get them qualified for SSI (crazy checks). The District (in many cases) is not an innocent bystander to the process. Such classifications of children converts to federal dollars that fund teaching positions, building improvements, transportation funding, on and on.

It's not unlike the doctors who hand out 'handicapped' parking placards willy nilly in order to please their patient base.

Here's just one of hundreds of articles you'll find on this subject if you bother to Google it:

Anonymous said...

How much of the overall state budget is spent on educaton?

Anonymous said...

" Crazy checks " are an essential
part of the entitlement nation. It's also helps
support their last minute claims of mental retardation when the executioner's thumb is on that
ole loaded Parchman syringe.

For those that actually qualify for "crazy checks", ..say for example,... the Stokes couple.

I'm all for helping .

Anonymous said...

I have been an administrator in one of these public school districts for ten years. I will begin this fall in a private school setting because frankly, I was tired of seeing it.

Here are some things that I have seen:

1. There is not only an active move to have kids classified as special ed so more government money can be received, there is an active move to get kids classified special ed so not to harm their athletic eligibility. Most of this was coming from coaches and my colleagues. NCAA Eligibility requirements are not as tough for special ed kids as well. I had an administrator tell me point blank one time that they had a person that would "declare me and you special ed" for the right price.

2. Spending is out of control. I know that several of the new Macbook Pros (starting price $2199) were ordered for people with computers less than one year old with the attitude of "we have to have the latest and greatest."

3. We were made to pay sometimes more than three times what we could go to Walmart and get so that we honored contracts. This added up to thousands and thousands of dollars for just my office, not to mention dozens of others.

4. Teachers are routinely pressured to give higher grades, allow makeup work for unexcused absences, etc. because of the federal funding formula. The result is that a ton of kids are getting high school diplomas that do not deserve them. My honest guess is that it is as high as 40 percent in some schools.

5. And this is no surprise, but in state testing areas, the test is being taught, not the subject. Administration from above force teachers to teach what will be on the test with zero tolerance for deviation. A good history teacher was let go for expanding on the Great Depression because students were engaged with one of his unique teaching methods. The result is that he got a week or so behind "schedule." No matter that 100 percent of his kids passed the US History test, he got off schedule, and we can't have that, can we> The same year, an Algebra I teacher at the same school had 45% of her class fail the state test.

I simply got tired of it, and was finally able to make the move to private school. Remember this, not everyone in these school districts are to blame. There are some great teachers, some great school level administrators and even some great central office folks, but there is a system of sishonesty and kickbacks in place that most of you would not believe. The way Rankin and Pearl are fighting over these 400 or so kids tells you one thing - its not about the kids, its about the money.

Anonymous said...

8:28 Thanks for the insider's perspective. I saw data once that shpowed an amazing coincidental increase in the number of kids diagnosed with "autism spectrum disorder" once the federal government started separate funding for special ed kids with that diagnosis.

Anonymous said...

the federal government has not started providing separate funding for CHILDREN with autism. please remember these are children who receive special education services

Shadowfax said...

It's my understanding that 50% of the salary/benefits for many of these teachers is provided by the feds. Can we spell E M P I R E?

Anonymous said...

Link to the audits?

bill said...

What is the "other cost per student" that is causing Madison to jump to the top of the total cost per student list?

Anonymous said...


Shadowfax said...

I'd be much concerned if I were a parent in one of the 'near failing' or 'barely passing' districts than I am by Madison exceeding the overall average by 0.08%. Madison could have ditched plastic spoons for pewter or Mike Kent making the rounds to attend sixteen going away parties, who knows. What's important, is the outcome.

bill said...

I agree that outcome is important and Madison certainly has good outcomes, but that one statistic jumped out at me more than any of the others. The astroturf comment appears to have been made at least partially in jest, but what all is included - and potentially hidden from the public - in that "other" category?

Anonymous said...

Bill - that was the point of my previous questions about Special Ed funding, and where that is listed in the budgets. Having about 50% of the total budget listed as "Other" is kind of suspicious.

Kingfish said...

I spoke to Sondra Odom, Pearl School Board President. She said the special ed was included in the instructional cost, which made sense.

Shadowfax said...

Kingfish; Why are you dodging the (thrice axed) question about 'other'?

Anonymous said...

Madison Central eyes big screen scoreboard

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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