Monday, March 21, 2011

AZ Republic Explains Importance of Dollars Spent Outside of Classroom

Each year the Arizona Auditor General releases a report on classroom spending. “Classroom spending” is defined by the Auditor General’s Report as:

  • Classroom personnel—Salaries and benefits for teachers, teachers’ aides, substitute teachers, graders, and guest lecturers.
  • General instructional supplies—Paper, pencils, crayons, instructional aids, etc.
  • Textbooks, workbooks, software, films, etc.
  • Activities—Field trips, athletics, and co-curricular activities such as choir and band.
  • Tuition—Paid to out-of-state and private institutions.

It does not include administration, plant operations and maintenance, food service, transportation, instructional support services or student support services.

On Sunday, March 20, 2011, the Arizona Republic published an investigative article on school funding inside and outside the classroom. The Republic points out that, ” [i]n general, Arizona spends less per student in almost all areas of K-12 because it spends significantly less overall than the nation.”

The Republic also reports that:

  • “Each of Arizona’s 225 districts faces its own unique factors that affect costs, including size, location, student makeup, property values and the management skills of its superintendents and other leaders.”
  • “An Arizona Republic analysis shows instead that Arizona K-12 schools spend a smaller share of their budgets on superintendents, principals and other administrators than the national average.”
  • “The percentage of Arizona children living in poverty and found to have disabilities has risen dramatically over the past decade. Those students need more attention from therapists and counselors, and districts must provide much of it under federal law.” Many of these services are not considered part of classroom spending for purposes of the Auditor General’s Report.
  • “Arizona’s excessive heat and its many energy-inefficient facilities may push up the share of money to operate school buildings in Arizona, education experts say.”

Read the complete Arizona Republic Report, Arizona schools’ expenses outside of class rise, Arizona Republic, March 20, 2011.

Read our analysis of the 2010 Auditor General’s Report at AZ Auditor General Report: AZ spends nearly $2,500 less per pupil than national avg.

You can also view our analysis of the reports in 2008 and 2009.

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