Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where does money come from?

Yesterday in Where have I been? And other things. I finally broke my nearly two month blogging hibernation and explained why my blog has been so silent this fall. I explained that I have been caught in what seems like an ethical or moral paradox professionally going from working at an integration district to a Hmong immersion charter school. In that post I made a statement about school funding of non-Broad/Gates/Walton-funded charter schools in Minnesota receiving and operating with some of the lowest per-student revenue in the state. I was going by some old figures so I decided to pull up the most recent data today and verify that my statements were indeed true.

It seems between foundation aid, grants, and other donations the Community School of Excellence receives $11,983 per student in revenue. $9,370 of those funds come from foundation aid and $2,600 come from federal funds. If you take into consideration the 60/40 deal the legislature cut this year to to schools (money we will likely never see paid back), we are really looking at more like $9,790 per pupil revenue for CSE. So, it stands to reason that if one were to figure out which school districts in Minnesota were suffering the least from the 60/40 dealayed payment one would look at total revenue per pupil a school or school district received from non-state sources like federal aid, local property tax, grants, etc. So, when you add up all non-state funding and divide by the number of kids in a school, how does CSE compare to other schools?

schoolnon-state aid revenu/pupil%of students on free and reduced lunch
Edina Public Schools$6,112.008%
Minnetonka Public Schools$6,323.009%
Wayzata Public Schools$6,405.0015%
Eden Prairie Public Schools$5,857.0018%
Westonka Public Schools$6,170.0020%
Moundsview Public Schools$6,481.0028%
Inver Grove Heights Public Schools$4,861.0034%
Hopkins Public Schools$7,847.0035%
St. Louis Park Public Schools$7,504.0035%
Spring Lake Park Public Schools$5,607.0036%
Burnsville Public Schools$5,564.0038%
Bloomington Public Schools$6,777.0039%
Robbinsdale Public Schools$6,897.0046%
Richfield Public Schools$6,031.0064%
Saint Paul Public Schools$5,884.0072%
Community School of Excellence$2,613 90%

I threw CSE's numbers in there just for comparison. Most districts and schools in the state receive around the $2k-$3k range of non-state revenue.

I find this fascinating. The schools listed above (except for CSE) are all some of the best-funded schools in the metro-area. Notice which districts are not on this list. Also, consider the position of EMID board members and superintendents who are thinking about closing down their integration schools. Which of these schools are EMID schools? Which of those EMID schools are pushing the hardest to get rid of the integration district?

Also, among the charters listed above, who is providing the money? In the case of three of the five charters listed their non-state revenue equaled or surpassed the amount of foundation aid the state provides. When someone else holds the purse strings, who does the school really serve?

I know I promised that I would write today about what we are doing at CSE. We are doing some real exciting and ambitious things with the children here but I just had to revisit this numbers game one more time. Tomorrow I'll write about CSE's 1:1 laptop program, our move to Google Apps for Education, and our foray into IB.