Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Snapshot: JPS finances

JPS leaders have been warning that budget cuts are a "crisis" for the district.  They of course plead for more money and a complicit media accepts their complaints as gospel.  JJ took a step away from the pack and examined the annual audits submitted to the State Auditor since 2005.  Take a look at the pictures told by JPS's own numbers.   

The first number to examine is the actual JPS enrollment.  JPS had 31,065 students in 2005 and peaked at 31,191 in 2007 but fell to 28,140 students last year.  That is a difference of 3,051 students from its zenith and 2,925 students from ten years go.  Translation: JPS has lost 10% of its students in ten years.  (These figures were taken from the income statement usually found on p.55 in the audits. Click on charts to enlarge.). 

JPS overall spending does not appear to reflect the loss of students.  The overall JPS budget has has grown and shrunk several times but is still more than $20 million higher than it was in 2005. (The income statement is on p.13.)

However, this chart includes the general fund and special funds and is probably not an accurate portrayal of what is spent on instruction.  The overall budget includes special funds such as bond funds and federal mandates that are not directly related to the classroom.

The general fund has fluctuated between $202 million and $192 million since 2005 although there is one year outside of that range.  It is $4 million less than in 2005 but $7 million higher than in 2014. The trend line seems to track the decrease in the student enrollment. (General fund spending is found on p.22)

The instructional spending classification provides a better idea of what is actually spent in the classroom.  JPS spent $131 million in 2005.  JPS spent more in some years and less in others.  It spent $126 million on instructional spending last year.  That was a decrease from 2014 even though general fund and overall spending rose in 2015.  Compare the charts for yourself. 

Then there is the cost per student (That information is usually found around page 55 in the audit each year.).  Read the numbers for yourself.  It begins at $9,736 per student in 2005 and ends at $10,176 per student in 2015.  

Someone will shriek that this includes spending not related to actually teaching the student.  Fair enough.  Here is the share of the cost per student that is only instructional spending:

However, the administrative costs per student have increased over 25% since 2005.  Suits are gonna suit.  The administrative cost per student was $721 in 2005 and is $911 per student in 2015 although it did drop from $944 per student in 2013.  We should be thankful for such savings. 


Anonymous said...

Student enrollment went down, they didn't adjust their budget accordingly, now they have a shortfall. Next.

Anonymous said...

So JPS spent 7,000,000 more out of the general fund in 2015 than in 2014 but spent less on per student in 2015 than in 2014. Any idea where that extra 7,000,000 went ? I'm not saying it was inappropriately spent. Just curious where the extra $ went.

Does anyone know what is spent per student in passing districts like Desoto County, Lee County/Tupelo, Madison County, or other passing districts ? I seem to recall a prior comparison that showed most of the passing districts spent a good bit less per student but with much better results. I'm curious why JPS spends so much more per student than other districts.(No need for speculation and unfounded rumors like payoffs, etc. I'm looking for real facts on how/where more is spent per student.)Seems like JPS would be wise to look at the passing districts who spend less to help JPS figure out where it could cut more and save more.

Anonymous said...


Are you suggesting that since enrollment went down over the last 10 years, that spending should have gone down? Have you thought about cost adjustments? The cost of teaching the types of students JPS has to teach may have gone up, even as enrollment went down. Costs are affected by more variables than simple enrollment.

Also, are you suggesting that the spending levels in JPS point to the leadership in JPS has been inefficient in spending? If there was different leadership, say the administrators in Clinton and Madison, then the spending would be less? What would you base that on? The student population in Madison or Clinton is vastly different, in size, needs, and available in house resources, than in Jackson. If it were this simple to run JPS, don't you think that a solution would have been had at this point? Ask any administrator in those suburbs how would they run JPS or if they would like to run a school or the entire JPS district and see what they say.

Better yet, show them these audits and let them point out to you the frivolous or inefficient spending that you wouldn't see in other districts. You'd be hard pressed to find any professional educator that would say that, given the challenges of a district like JPS, the leadership is inept, corrupt, or inefficient. I'm not saying they are perfect, but I wonder how or if someone else would do a better job?

Anonymous said...

I am pressed to find a professional educator that is not a total fool.

What Did He Just Say? said...

"The cost of teaching the types of students JPS has to teach may have gone up, even as enrollment went down."

Oh really? Please elaborate. That's a really interesting claim/concept - one I have never heard mentioned before. Let's stay with that for awhile and explore.

Anonymous said...

I really like this statement from the Management Discussion and Analysis section, page 12.

The Jackson Public School District is financially stable. The District is proud of its community support of
the public schools.
The District has committed itself to financial excellence for many years. The District's system of financial
planning, budgeting, and internal financial controls is well regarded. The District plans to continue its
sound fiscal management to meet the challenges of the future.

Anonymous said...

The same goods and services that sold for $1.00 in 2005 costs about $1.23 in 2015. Another factor is that while I know nothing about the specifics of running a school, I do know that the Federal Government has gone insane with increased regulations in the past few years. What does increased regulation and red tape costs? I am not taking up for JPS, but just the change in time value of money alone is worth 23%. It would be interesting to see what a handful of cities, say Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Birmingham, Montgomery, Chattanooga, etc. spent on total school expenditures per student in 2005 and in 2015. That type of analysis would be a more accurate measure.

Anonymous said...

A friend who teaches at JPS told me they were 200 teachers short during the school year this year. This is almost 10% of total teaching jobs. He also knows of an algebra course that has not had an algebra teachers for the past two years. One could argue that no matter how much they spend on teachers, it is not enough.

Anonymous said...

They do save money on books. The district guru Cedric-the-clown-dresser gave up on books when he arrived. Now, parents can't look at a book to help Lil Jon.

How much was this savings?

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see what a handful of cities, say Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Birmingham, Montgomery, Chattanooga, etc. spent on total school expenditures per student in 2005 and in 2015. That type of analysis would be a more accurate measure.

Then conduct it yourself or hit the tip jar heavy to pay for the research. Just don't show up here telling us how it should be done or how it could be more accurate because all you're doing is trying to dismiss the effort.

Anonymous said...

I wonder about how the maintenance/repair costs of older school buildings affected the spending.
I agree the cash value of a dollar has to be considered.
But, I'm frankly more concerned about the lead issue
I know St A's tested their water, and perhaps while I've been out of town ,there have been stories on the lead issue that I've missed.
I want to know if the public schools have tested their water and the current state of this problem in Jackson.
The first priority now, it seems to me is whether or not Jackson's children are at risk. And, given the aging of pipes in the entire state , I hoped it'd be a priority for everyone.

Anonymous said...

May 10 1:51 said "Have you thought about cost adjustments?"

Did you see KF included charts for spending per student and instructional spending per student, then commented with admin cost % increase? Admin cost per student rose 25% while total spending per kid has remained relatively level and certainly didn't receive the cost adjustments you mentioned. In other words, the money was spent on employing adults instead of educating kids.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:00PM and all others who are perplexed as to why costs per student could go up, and yet enrollment decreases.

Say, for instances like with the Literacy Based Promotion Act (or "3rd grade Gate"), now the community is pressuring the district to do more reading instruction for 3rd graders. The district now wants to monitor the progress of the students during the year and adjust instruction to meet the needs of students as indicated in the progress monitoring tests. These tests require purchasing licenses for computer administrations (more money), a cost they may not have had in previous years . Also, since reading is now a premium, they will need the help of literacy coaches that may or may not come from the state (More money), tutors after school (more money) and administrative costs of facilitating these purchases (more money) etc.

Even for the people who are lamenting the rise in administrative costs while student costs "were level". Of course, one would have to determine what was covered under each line item (were costs for licenses for the reading software cover under student or admnin costs?). Also, new regulations regarding counseling of students required that the school counselors no longer be in charge of testing, and testing policy requires that principals and chief or core subject area teachers not proctor tests (for obvious reasons), therefore trading for other personnel in testing must be covered (more money), and since counselors council now, issues like professional development, discipline matters, etc. must be handled by administrators (more money).

So, It is not enough just to assume that human beings are simply economic actors that only require static inputs to achieve static, predictable outputs. Humans are irrational, emotional beings that have real, psycho-social needs that vary and cost. Children growing up in high poverty, highly transient communities have various needs that children growing up in relative wealth and stability do not have. Yet all children must have certain pre conditions in their environment to be ready to learn academic skills and subject matter (safe homes, sense of self worth and value, confidence in adults, healthy, safe schools, etc.) Yes, schooling is harder and more complicated than the political stump speech might want one to envision, but that doesn't make said stump speech more true or effective in solving our public schooling challenges.

Again, I note, what professional educators will say that the main challenges in JPS are merely about ineptitude and wasteful spending at the administrator level? Very few, and the few that would obviously don't understand the dynamics of schooling in communities hyper concentrated with poverty and segregation.

Anonymous said...

@8:57a - You almost had me until that last word - segregation. So if we mixed the black kids with the white ones, the blacks wouldn't be failing. Sorry, been there, done that, the experiment failed miserably. Why don't we just admit that the majority of blacks have different priorities than the majority of whites and education ain't one of them. Nothing wrong with that - lets quit trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Anonymous said...

Segregation is not just about race, (though racial segregation is a big part of the problem), but also about class. Middle class black people are also leaving JPS. But, the answer to segregation is not about mixing "Black kids with the white ones", but about what happens when middle class white children are taught in schools in terms of available resources-human, fiscal, curricular, pedagogical and physical plant. The USDE has noted that there is a serious problem with the access to quality education that is lacking for poor and minority students. Experienced and expert teachers and administrators are not teaching poor and minority students by and large. If the schools weren't so hyper segregated, by class and race, more poor and minority students would have access to better teachers, principals, curricula, assessments, extra curricular activities, elective and honors/advanced classes, etc. Most teachers and administrators, given the choice, would love to teach in a more diverse school setting, not one hyper concentrated with poor students coming from distressed communities.

Integration was never about "mixing" different races of students, it was about the access that minority students had to a quality education. This access is too often denied because resources were and are distributed unjustly according to zip code. Communities are segregated. This segregation results in children growing up in communities hyper concentrated with poverty. This poverty created needs in children that are not/can't be met in homes, and therefore must be met in schools if the schools have any shot at educating many of these children. Resources are not allocated according to the resulting needs because of said segregation. This makes schooling difficult to almost impossible in many of these communities. For others then to look at balance sheets and surmise ineptitude of leadership and wasteful spending without understanding the needs and associated costs of schooling in these communities is an exercise in civic and political theater, not real, effective inquiry for solutions.

Anonymous said...

Admitting that " the majority of Blacks have different priorities than the majority of whites and education ain't one of them" is erroneous and, I dare say, straight racist. It is not born in any real world analysis of the priorities of any group of people and doesn't lend itself to any answers regarding schooling in these communities. Its a simple assertion, which isn't true, which feeds into the racist ideologies that dominate civic and political discourse (and policy making) in MS. And we wonder why this state is last in so many indices of social-economic progress and quality of life.

Anonymous said...

Just like everything else. When there is a problem blame it on someone or something else. It has become common place for those in charge to avoid doing their job and looking for others to blame for their short comings.
When did the U.S. drop it's standards and morals? What happened to the real people? Where did this crop of losers come from?

A Large L On Her Forehead said...

9:59 rattles on with eloquence and sociology-textbook accuracy, if not plagiarism. I recon she ran out of typing paper before he got around to solutions. Her mission was to offer redress, identify all of us as ignorant and admonish all who have different thoughts and (gasp) solutions.

exjxnres said...

We should deduct $1 million for each student that is given a certificate of graduation from JPS that cannot read, write and solve simple math problems. Situation fixed, within just a couple of years, the budget for JPS will be 0.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but why stop at JPS? Hold every district in the state accountable for the outcomes of their graduates! For every graduate that doesn't have a college admission, military appointment, job training program certificate, gainful employment (that pays a living wage thus requires specialized training), or start their own business within 3 years of graduating, cut funding by the amount that the state spent on that student's education while in high school (all 4 years). The pushback would then be that there are too many other variables that contribute to a student's outcome to hold districts solely responsible for it. I agree, so why , then, do we hold districts solely accountable for standardized test scores? Just as many variables that can affect a students outcome after high school also affect academic performance during high school.

Anonymous said...

To 10:07 Saying that " 'the majority of Blacks have different priorities than the majority of whites and education ain't one of them' is erroneous and, I dare say, straight racist."

Actually, your statement is quite racist. Caucasians and Asians dwarf Blacks in the numbers of math scholars statewide. If it is not a difference in priorities, then are you saying that Caucasians and Asians and smarter than Blacks in mathematics? Are you saying that number tests are biased against African Americans? Are numbers racist, or are you?

Anonymous said...


You really are not displaying a good understanding of the claim that was made. To say that Whites and Asians score better in math and is quite different, and does not support, the notion that blacks have "different priorities...and education ain't one of them". The logical fallacies in you assertion are just indicative of the racist thinking that arrives a such a spurious claim.

-Test scores do not measure "priority of education" no more than zip code would. Just because a person scores higher on a test doesn't necessarily mean they cared more. Plenty of other factors come into play-Test preparation, testing environment, test taking skills of the test taker, prior instruction, background knowledge, subject matter, I could go on and on.

-You measure "priority" directly by asking people what priority do they place on education. Research study after research study affirms that black people place as much if not more emphasis on education as any other demographic group.

-What accounts for disparity in academic measures demographics (outside of the out-of-school factors) is mainly the access to quality educational experiences (you know, the relative lack of qualified and competent teachers and administrators in poor and minority schools, lack of access to advanced learning opportunities, science labs equipment, computer technology, etc.), not the "priority" that black people place on education.

The fact that you have assumed and generalized that black people just don't care about education, and see this as a sufficient explanation for the academic measure gaps really affirms that racism is born out of fear and ignorance, not observable reality and facts. Racism, along with classism, is probably the main reason why MS still lags behind the rest of the country in most social and economic measures. Instead of the state trying to make it such that it can run Jackson, we may need the Feds to devise ways they can take over the whole State. No way the political leadership, if they think anything like you, could ever lead Mississippi out from the bottom.

Yet We Fiddle said...

This state has imported money-grubbing big-spenders to run both the Jackson Public School System and the State Department of Education. Neither could point to Mississippi on a blank US map six years ago. Now they control a fourth of the state's finances.

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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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