Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Falmouth throws down the gauntlet….

We’ve been musing on school budgets in the last few days, including showing you this chart that benchmarks Brunswick against a “cohort of peers.”


Now comes exciting news from Falmouth in the great race to the top of school spending.  A resident there we know sends data along stating that Falmouth is proposing to spend $36,905,000 in the coming school year to educate 2105 students.  That works out to $17,532 per student per year.

So you might say Falmouth has come a long way, baby, in just 3 years.  Increasing total spending by $4 Million, and per student spending by $2,000!  By any measure, that’s a dazzling pace of spending increase, paid for by you know who (in Falmouth.)

Weak and feeble Brunswick is only increasing spending over the same three years by a little over $2 million, with a per student increase of only $1,000 or so.  To be clear, Brunswick’s proposed spending for FY 18-19 is $38.9 Million, for per student spending of $16,500.  For another $2.4 million, we could match Falmouth per student figures.  But we’re too cheap, and we don’t care enough about the children.  (In reality, we’re not paying the teachers as highly, or shrinking class size enough.)

Oh, the shame!

You know, we just noticed another difference in the cohort numbers, which are sourced from the state.  Our data shows Brunswick had a school budget of $36.5 million in FY 15-16, netting out to $15,600 per student.

We suspect that the state’s DOE excludes transportation and debt service in their figures.  We don’t for obvious reasons.  It’s money taxpayers have to provide, and the Department spends to discharge its responsibilities.  This may mean that the figures cited above for Yarmouth in FY 15-16 are similarly modified.  The $36,905,000 provided by our contact is the TOTAL spending proposed.

But it’s clear as your property tax bill that Brunswick needs to hide in shame by comparison.

One more thing is obvious.  The state should stop adjusting total spending by the towns so the top line is clear.  And valuation figures should reflect taxable appraised valuation, not total valuation.  Then comparing figures might actually have some merit.

But no; that would mess things up by making them clearer, and we can’t have that in government conduct of our business, can we.

It’s more useful to our officials to keep us as mushrooms.  Even if in Falmouth they are all morels, compared to the Baby Bellas in Brunswick.

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