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Numbers to Think About

This morning, in what has become an annual ritual, the local media stirs the pot with talk of a tax increase for schools.

I thought it might be nice to see some context so I pulled Metro’s Certified Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) for the years ending June 30, 2003 and 2012 and the MNPS budget for 2012.  Perhaps by looking at a ten year period we could see how much school funding has changed.

Assuming my numbers below are correct, it looks like per student funding for kids attending MNPS schools  has gone down 3.29% since 2003.  The 13% increase in students and the significant increase in funds going to charter schools seem to have taken a toll.  I’m a lawyer not an accountant, so let me know if my numbers are off.

Perhaps the numbers change after the 2013 CAFR but these are the most up to date numbers today.

FY Students per CAFR Total Expended Per CAFR Per Student  Expenditure in Year of Appropriation $ per CAFR before Charter Transfer Charter Transfers Per MNPS 2011-2012 Budget Net to MNPS Per Student  Expenditure in 2012 Dollars after Charter Transfer CPI as of July 2003 and July 2012 per BLS Change
2003 70028
$458,498,757
$6,547.36                    $0.00 $458,498,757.00 $8,156.75 183.9
2012 79212 $640,833,357 $8,090.10 $15,973,200.00 $624,860,157.00 $7,888.45 229.104 -3.29%
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4 responses

  1. The per student expenditure figure for 2012 is inaccurate. You still divide by the 79212 denominator. The denomiator number should be reduced by 1974.4 (calculated # of charter students)…if you want to calculate it that way. Are charter students not public school students too? This calculation also doesn’t include facilities funding district schools recieve or federal/state grants and $$$ the district gets but charters dont

    March 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

  2. I would be surprised if you are correct about the number I pulled from the CAFR for the number of MNPS students in 2012. The TCAP report actually shows more than 80,000 students at MNPS that year. I don’t think the TCAP report would reflect the scores of the charter students. Admittedly, enrollment numbers are not the easiest to capture or understand. Even if I did pull out the 1974.4 you estimate, funding would still be down .82%. I’d be glad to take a look at whatever you have in that regard.

    In terms of the expenditure number I used, it is directly from the CAFR on page B-17 for each year. It is called “Total Expenditures”. It does reflect Federal and State money. Any way, the idea was that I would use a number that consistently represented the same expenditures. These numbers do that. The idea is not to say that charters are getting too much or too little. It’s to say that MNPS’s funding for teaching the kids they are responsible for has gone down in real terms. Perhaps, the advent of charters has played a role in that, along with the increase in students.

    This post, in my opinion, should give one pause before he or she says MNPS gets too much. That’s all.

    March 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

  3. MNPS budget books reflect a higher $$$ amount spent overall when looking at all their different accounting funds. I don’t disagree with your posted numbers as the operating expense portion, I just believe there is more to add. I am one to not agree w/ the assertion that charters are somehow a funding drain or causing a budget crisis of sorts over at MNPS, that notion coming out of Bransford I believe is way off. A lot of funding levels are controlled by non MNPS factors…TN BEP allocations, TN retirement funding costs, etc.

    I don’t contend MNPS gets too much, I contend that they get too much that they don’t spend effectively or in the most productive, public maximizing way possible.

    March 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm

  4. If total enrollment (charter and MNPS) were static then there would be an argument that increased charter funding could be offset by decreases in MNPS operational expenses. Total enrollment is not static. It’s increased significantly over 10 years. As a result, funding charters combined with increasing enrollment will have a significant financial impact on MNPS. I think that’s beyond dispute.

    March 6, 2013 at 10:49 am