APS – Every Stats Confirms Spending on Students is NOT the Top Priority!

From earlier posts, it was clear that the APS spending priorities were moving away from spending on direct student learning and moving towards operations and administration. Not what you would expect given what we have heard from APS and the Board of Education. However, as shown in the table below, the facts are undeniable – see if you agree.

  1. As a percent of the total, spending on Direct Instruction has come down by 3.9% over five years and resources have been shifted to Admin and Operations. In FY13, the reallocation of resources represents nearly $21 million being spent on other functions – and not Direct Instruction.
  2. Spending on a per student basis has declined from $7,097 in FY09 to $6,454 in FY13 – a decrease of $643 per student, or 9.1%.
  3. Actual spending for Direct Instruction in FY13 is approximately $295 million, down $46 million from FY09, or 13.4%. While some spending decrease in total dollars would be expected given the 4.9% decrease in enrollment, are you surprised that the percent decrease represents almost 3X the enrollment decline? What does that say about priorities?

Given the absolute dollar and percentage declines in Direct Instruction, still there are some winners and losers within the group of departments. First the winners (highlighted in green):

  1. Exceptional Children Department – gets 14.4% of the Direct Instruction FY13 Budget, which represents a 1.7% increase over FY09. Superintendent indicated that more resources were moving to this effort – and it shows up in the numbers.
  2. Kindergarten Department – gets 7.3% of the FY13 Direct Instruction FY13 Budget, up 1.2% from FY09. Spending per student has increased from $4,758 in FY09 to $4,899 in FY13 – a $141 increase or nearly 3%. I have not heard any statements from APS indicating that resources were specifically pushed to Kindergarten. I wonder if they are even aware of the trend.
  3. Vocational Education, Gifted and Talented Education, Student Services and Athletics Departments – all received increased resources amounting to 0.7-0.9% as compared to FY09 – not significant, but positive never the less.

And now for the losers in the resource allocation game:

  1. Elementary, Middle & High School Department – resources allocated in FY13 are down 2.8% versus FY09. Unfortunately the breakdown on spending is not provided for each of the major categories in this group. If it was, we could see if there are other trends happening in the Elementary Schools, the Middle Schools and the High Schools. It sure would be nice if the spending per student in each of these categories were available as it would tell us far more about the Administrations spending priorities within the core groups of students. At this point we have to assume spending per student is down equally across the board – not good.
  2. Non-Traditional Education Department – resources allocated are down from 3.7% of total Direct Instruction spending in FY09 to 1.1% in FY13, or 2.6%. This is a continuing trend started in FY10. Are there some prior experiments that just did not pan out in the past and  were scrapped? It would be nice to know.

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