Monday, February 18, 2013

Kasich's Proposed Funding: A Geek Digs the Data

I admit to being a bit of a geek.  Maybe more than a little.  At any rate, numbers fascinate me and I love data.  With that in mind, I created a spreadsheet using information from the percent of increases for each school district in Ohio under Kasich's new proposed funding formula, and then entered the median income for each district, the percent of students living in poverty, and average per pupil expenditure from the most recent Cupp Report (ODE official report).  I knew that, at least for districts I know around here, the funding simply makes no sense.  Rich districts appeared to be receiving huge increases while those struggling to offer even basic education received nothing.  Coincidence? Maybe.  I wanted to find out, and here are some of my results:

Of the districts in the top half of the state for median income, 24% are receiving a significant (greater than 10%) increase under Kasich's new funding formula while only 14% of the districts in the bottom half for median income receive a significant increase.  Looking further, I found that about a fourth of the districts in the top quartile for per pupil expenditure get an increase while only slightly higher, 28% of the bottom quartile for per pupil expenditure receive a significant increase.  Eighteen percent of the districts with the lowest poverty rates, many of them affluent districts,  receive a significant increase.

To make it more personal, look at some examples:
Olentangy Local has 7% poverty rate and over $71,000 median income and is slated to receive a 331% increase.  New Albany Local has 7% poverty and $68,000 median income with an increase of 181%.
Avon Local has 7% poverty and median income of over $55,000 with an increase of   about 100%.
The Orange School District in Cuyahoga County has the highest per pupil expenditure in the state with over $21,000 to spend for each pupil with relatively low poverty (14%), but they will receive an additional 25% from the state.

In the meantime, Fairport Harbor has a median income of $27,000, spends just over $9000 per student and gets nothing. Clay Local, $29,000 median income, $8600 per pupil expenditure, zero increase. East Holmes, $24,600 median income, 36% poverty, $9555 per pupil, no increase. Tuslaw spends only $7400 per pupil with 26% poverty, $32000 median income, no increase.

Four hundred forty districts receive zero increases, or increase less than 5%, which doesn't even make up for the 8% cut  in funding from Governor Kasich's first budget.  Unfortunately, I could go on with these statistics and examples for the over 600 school districts in the state.  Over 2/3 of them get no help, and of the ones that do, more of them are affluent districts already spending more per pupil than those that are left behind.

To put these numbers into perspective:  The average child care provider in Ohio charges $250-$275 per week for one child.  Multiply times 36 weeks school is in session, and $9,000-$10,000 per year is about what one would pay for a babysitter.  Three hundred eight-six districts in the state of Ohio educate your child for about the cost of a babysitter or less. Sixty of them (about 15%) get an increase of 10% or more in Kasich's budget.  Fify-four get a minimal increase of .06% to 9.6%.  Two hundred seventy-two districts in the state of Ohio educate your children for no more than you would pay a babysitter and yet get zero funding increase.  These districts are still reeling  from an 8% cut and an unbelievable number of unfunded mandates in the past two years.

I'm not sure on what planet this resolves constitutional funding issues, but Kasich is still touting that "Our new schools plan gives the lowest wealth schools 400% more than the highest wealth ones."  I'm going to have to see the data on that one.  You know me.  I'm a geek.

1 comment:

  1. Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Do Figure! It is a very old saying and can be applied to many situations, but unfortunately it can best be used in politics. I do not know the answer but our politicians (all parties) in the United States are not to be trusted. We need leaders that really have the people's best interest at heart or we will continue to fall behind as a nation.