Monday, April 13, 2009

Spending less overall, less on instruction

When Kentucky P-12 expenditures are compared to the nation, we're used to hearing that Kentucky spends less per pupil. The new Digest of Education Statistics (big PDF here) brings us 2005-06 figures on the overall difference, plus some detail on how we use money differently.

Overall, Kentucky total current spending is:
  • 84% of national average total current spending.
We outpace the national in two major categories, where we spend:
  • 122% of national average on food service.
  • 114% of national average on student transportation.
We're close to the nation in two more, spending:
  • 96% of national average on support services from instructional staff, including expenditures for curriculum development, staff training, libraries, and media and computer centers.
  • 95% of average on general administration.
In the remaining categories, we're further below national average:
  • 82% of national average on instruction.
  • 81% of average on school administration
  • 79% on operation and maintenance.
  • 71% on enterprise operations.
  • 66% on student support that includes health, attendance, and speech pathology services.
  • 59% on other support services.
The news there, the Aha! for me this time, is that we're further behind on instruction than we are overall. Seeing the full set of figures below, I guess it makes sense transportation in a rural state and food service in a poor state take a bigger bite, shrinking what's available for some other needs, so that's something I've learned tonight.

1 comment:

  1. I have read this post with great interest. As a parent and a library technician at a public university, I found it interesting to note that Kentucky spends close to the national average on support services, including libraries.
    I mention this, because there is a disturbing trend at the moment in which school districts across the nation are cutting certified library media specialists in the interests of balancing budgets.

    The general, public impression of what certified library media specialists do is extremely inaccurate. Many people think that their job involves checking books in and out, and perhaps shelving. What the general public, and members of their own school boards, don't realize is that they do so much more! They teach classes, they assist busy teachers in selecting appropriate materials for teaching their students; they order materials for the library, they troubleshoot technical problems with school electronics (not just the computers in the library); they oversee Accelerated Reader, including supervising students as they take the tests, and running class reports for each teacher in the building; they create the complex, detailed electronic records to be loaded into the library's computer database that describes all the books in the library, making it possible for the books to be checked out by students; they assign call numbers, print the spine labels and attach them to the books; teach students research methods using both print and online resources...I could go on and on.

    I am seeing districts beginning to use one certified media specialist for multiple elementary school libraries in the interest of saving money. It is not uncommon to see one certified media specialist assigned to 5 or 6 different elementary schools! This is not a unique practice to Kentucky -- it is a nationwide trend, which really concerns me. It has been proven that the full-time presence of a certified media specialist in a school will increase student test scores.

    I think advocacy for school libraries and certified librarians is crucial. People need to be made to understand what these certified specialists do every day, and why it is so important.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!