May 2, 2008

School District Spending Per Pupil

The Empire Center for New York State Policy has put out a report that details spending and tax proposals for almost all the school districts in the state. You can see whether the tax-per-pupil will be going up this year, and compare your district to others. Figures are projected for the 2008-09 school budget year.

District---Enrollment----Spending-------Tax Levy----Cost per student----Change


Business First graded 97 districts in the eight-county region, using four years of test data compiled by the New York State Education Department. Each district's score reflects the collective performance of its public high, middle and elementary schools. Here's how our Niagara county schools fared out of 97 WNY school districts in the 2007 Business First rankings:

11. Wilson
20. Lewiston-Porter
21. Barker
25. Starpoint
28. Niagara-Wheatfield
38. Newfane
42. Lockport
43. North Tonawanda
60. Royalton-Hartland
93. Niagara Falls

So the question is, is there a direct correlation between school spending per student and student performance?

The other piece of information that sticks out on the chart of spending is how low the tax levy is in Barker, especially as a percentage of the budget when compared to every other district. In addition, Barker is increasing year-to-year spending per student 8.3%, far more than any other district. Obviously they haven't been hit as hard as they portrayed they'd be by the AES PILOT.


Anonymous said...

The only reason Barker wasn’t hit as hard as they thought was because George Maziarz fought for state money for them. Amazing for a PILOT that was going to help everyone, why would Maziarz have to ask for additional funding. What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander and he should have fought for all districts equally.
Still the cost to all taxpayers is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The comment on the Barker schools is BS. The PILOT only took effect last year. Not enough time for you to make that BS statement.

Larry Castellani said...

Nice piece of information but it tells us nothing. If you’re really interested in the education of our children, you can’t talk about quantitative measure without considering qualitative measures. Performance scores are BS, meaningless twaddle. We know where the conversation will go from here. Most Repub’s will compulsively and ritualistically cry “foul” and the Dems will harmonize with justifications. La Dee Dah! La Dee Dah! Or I will insist that we should double taxes for the schools until we get a meaningful curriculum that produces students who are citizens that can discuss economics and politics meaningfully and effectively. Until 10th grade students can be virtual players in the world of money and power, they are illiterate in this world. That’s the core curriculum that’s lacking. The rest of the curriculum is ancillary to these issues. Yes, there will be special needs but let’s get serious and stop playing arbitrarily and abstractly with statistics which we all know will be made to mean what you want them to mean. If we get a meaningful curriculum, then I’m all for cutting taxes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Castellani:


Anonymous said...

If it's all BS about George and the PILOT, then why was it in all the papers 6 month to go?

dark knight said...

The difference in spending between the districts is minimal and I bet is a functioun of where they are on their "teacher retirement" curve.

What do I mean by that? Did you ever notice most teachers in district are relatively close in age? That's because you tend to get spikes in retiring which lead to spikes in hiring.

Where you are in that curve is a big cost driver since long-tenured teachers make significantly more than new ones.

As for peformance, look at the community's that rank high and you will see stable communities. Stable communities come from stable families. And a good stable family environment is the biggest indicator of education success.

That is why private schools tend to perform better. The fact that parents chose that school already shows some level of involvement in their child's education.

I bet if you took the top five percent of each school and compared it across all of WNY you would see similar talent.

But take the bottom five percent from Niagara Falls and Buffalo and compare it with Clarence and Lewiston. The towns do not have nearly the societal problems that the cities have and it's those kids who bring down the average.

OK, I'm rambling like Larry...I'm out.

Anonymous said...

DK, you may be rambeling, but not like Larry. I may not agree with everything you said, but at least it is comprehensible.

Anonymous said...

Larry, it’s so refreshing to here someone else mention that the quantitative measure is squat, without the qualitative values equally measuring up. With this test based NYS standard for excellence, there is no way to justify a proper quantitative statistic. Unfortunately the schools are hostages of the State and it’s the quantitative measure in which our schools are judged by. Until we can get the State to change their standards for a better education, we will continue to see the cost per student increase because qualitative measurement will continue to be ineffective.

Larry Castellani said...

Dark Knights main point is true and needs to be remembered but it’s nothing new. The wisdom of what he says just hasn’t been incorporated into educational thought. The big question is why not? It’s so obvious that the pre-conditions of learning are cultural and familial, but the technocrats of state education just continue to fixate on statistics. And we play into the problem by doing the same here. Maybe we really don’t want some communities to thrive? Gotta’ keep those pools of cheap, ignorant labor readily available, don’t we? (Just to clear things up for the symbolically challenged, that last line was irony.)

Poli Scick said...

Larry, why is it that in every comment you make, you have to find some way to insult someone? Does doing this help you build yourself up? Personally I find it rather pathetic and it makes me wonder if you do the same thing in the classroom. Do you make similar condescending statements to the young men and women that inhabit your classroom?

Anonymous said...


What do you know you are part of the educational establishment... Besides you use more ink stating "nothing" than anyone except maybe Hillary.

Frank DeGeorge said...

PS, don't be so sensitive. Larry has a great wit and the fact that he's sardonic helps underscore his points. It's one of the great liteary vehicles for expressing political thought.

On the substance, I think Larry actually misses a major point in his sarcasm. Quite frankly, not everyone is made for college, yet our state educrats seemed to have forgot that. Talk to the trades in WNY and they will tell you no one is heading into those skilled professions even though they pay well with good benefits. We are letting what was once a competitive advantage for this reason...a quality workforce...slip away.

Vocational education now has a stigma attached to it when we could really be helping kids.

Anonymous said...


I saw you on TV the other day - best stick to Radio and/or print.

Anonymous said...

Pilots are for creating or expanding operations that would raise employment levels. Not for getting kick backs for your buddy, so hobbes why do you keep reminding us of what a moron you are for voting for it.

gop shill said...

Last Anon jackass, property taxes are to fairly raise revenue to fund government operations not to gouge one company to line the pockets of one law firm and run a town like Boss Hogg in the Dukes of Hazard.

I guess you are too stupid to recognize that the state recommended PILOTS for power plants as part of deregulation. But why should you take five seconds to educate yourself when you can lie and take cheap shots.

Dan, don't you have some autodialing to do........