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.