Remember that “Thompson era” post we put up Monday? Maybe not; you’ve probably got lots more important things to remember. But bear with us just a moment.
Vis-à-vis that post, it occurred to us to wonder where our school budget would be if we hadn’t had a decline of 1,000 students in the last 10 years or so. Or if we had to suddenly accommodate that influx, returning us to the days of yore, as the usual suspects and highly paid consultants promised we would have to do.
Oh, we’d have to put at least two schools back on line, and hire at least 100 new teachers or so, right? We could spend a month of Thursdays trying to calculate the up front costs for doing so. For the moment, though, let’s just do some estimating.
We’re talking about a hypothetical enrolment increase of about 40% to take us back where we were. So one way to go about this is to pro-rata increase the current budget by 40%:
$35.6 million X 1.4 = $49.8 million
That’s $14.2 million more than we’re spending now, without factoring in the rumored 10% increase the master of our education domain is looking for in the coming year.
Using the rule of thumb for translating budget increases to tax rates and tax bills, that $14.2 million increase would call for a property tax increase of about 45%. So if your property tax bill is currently in the $3500 range, you could plan on an increase of about $1600 per year.
Shirley some will say such estimates are absurd. Do you think so? Here’s what we find absurd. When our enrollment was at it’s peak about 10 years ago, we were spending roughly $8,000 per student per school year. Ten years later, with fewer school plants and far fewer students, we’re spending roughly $15,000 per student per school year.
Could someone please tell us what performance improvements and value increases have made themselves known in our children's education? This is an 87% ‘tuition’ increase - $7,000 per student per year more. That’s not chicken feed, kiddies.
Here’s a more profound and consequential question: does anyone really think we can sustain an education bureaucracy that exhibits such unconstrained cost growth?
I don’t know why, but somehow, in drafting this post, a certain image came to mind.