School Budget -Should we spend well under the state average?

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School Budget -Should we spend well under the state average?

Postby Ken Coleman » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:49 pm

Michael Posted

Ken, during your tenure the school budget more than doubled, from $24.3 million and $5,207 per student in 1996, to $58.4 million and $12,544 per student for 2006. Even adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price index, it's only slightly below doubled, as $24.3 million in 1996 is equivalent to $31.1 million in 2006.

Ok Lets play this game.

First in the 1996-97 school years the budget was 28 million, not 24.

But let’s use the 24.1 million dollar number. According to Michael the budget should have only increase to 31.1 million today, an increase of 28%

Salaries make up about the same percentage of the budget as they did in 1996 (Actual they were 3% more in 96). According to the state of NH our average salary today is 46,986 and the state average is 45,226.

As the percentage of salaries has stayed about the same if our budget had only gone up over this time period to 31.1 million, salaries would have had to do the same.

In order to have a 31.1 budget this year, we would have to lower the average teacher salary to 24,120.

Now can ANY of you tell me how we would get or keep good teachers with an average salary of 24,120 with the state average being 45,226?

This is the real question. I keep having people talk about how much our spending has gone up in the last 10 years, yet today our salaries, benefits, student teacher ratio and per student spending are all within a couple percents of the state average.

If the school budget had risen at a much lower level over the last 10 years, we would have to pay well under the state average and out per student spending would be well under too. NO ONE HAS SAID HOW WE WOULD HAVE A COMPETATIVE SYSTEM WITH SALARIES AND SPENDING WELL UNDER THE STATE AVERAGE!

IF you conclude that spending should have gone up much less, then you also have to conclude that we should be paying our teachers much less, have much high student teacher ratios, and less other facilities and programs than the average school in the state!

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Postby Michael Pelletier » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:52 pm

Let's talk about another average, shall we? The national average of state per-pupil spending was $9,052 in 2005. New Hampshire's average that year was $9,652.

Merrimack, in 2005, spent $10,991 per student, 20% more than the state average. Are our results 20% above average for our state? How about for the nation?

According to Michael the budget should have only increase to 31.1 million today, an increase of 28%

False, Ken. I said that $24.3 million adjusted for inflation is $31.1 million in 2006.

Can I safely assume, though, that according to you the budget should have increased by 140%, considering that it actually did?

Another question is, when I'm talking about school spending having doubled, why is it that you're talking about pay averages? Even if you doubled salaries, why would the rest of the budget more than doubled right along with them such that the salaries are a smaller percentage of the total budget than before? Perhaps your defense of $8,000 for a swim program for a dozen kids is emblematic of the answer to that question? Maybe the assistant librarians getting more in benefits than in take-home pay are too?

See, this is the trouble with funding the education of children with money seized from everyone under threat of force. Pesky questions like this are sure to arise in a free society.

Saying that you're average just means that you're equally as dismal as everyone else.
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Postby andysinnh » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:42 pm

One factor we're forgetting in all of this are two huge increases in the last 10 years - heating/energy costs, and healthcare costs. Both of those have increased dramatically above the inflation average, and make up a significant portion of the budget. Also, if we're spending over the state average, you have to take into account where Merrimack is located in the state and the general cost of doing business here. The better test would be to look at the average of ALL schools in (say) Hillsboro and Rockingham Counties (not just cherrypicking a few that fall under our per-student average) - and then compare apples to apples.....

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Postby Ken Coleman » Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:14 am

Michael,

You are comparing apples to oranges wit the funding. When you do state comparisons or national comparisons, you need to look at the same data, because each site or study looks at cost differently. The numbers on spending I site are all of the state of NH Education site.

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