Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Effective and Efficient High School Spending

By Sean Scarpiello

There was recently an article in Philadelphia Magazine which ranked the top 100 high schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Along with each rank, the article listed other statistics, such as number of students, the percent of students that move onto college, and the amount of spending that each school spends per student. Upon reading the article, I began to look for my high school along with my friends’ high schools to see how they ranked. Overall, there were a few surprising trends and facts about the different schools.

One of the first and most unexpected trends I noticed was that the top ranked schools did not spend the most money on each student. In fact, the correlation between rank and money spent was nearly random. This shows that it is not important how much money that is spent, but rather how the money is spent. For example, the top ranked school spent less than $7,000 per pupil. Compared to the other schools, this was much less that the majority of other schools. In fact, the majority of the lower ranked schools spent well above $8,000. One even more astonishing trend among some of the higher ranked schools was that not only did they spend less per student, but they also had a lower number of students enrolled in the school. At first, one may think that lower enrollments means more individualized attention in the classroom. However, if the school is smaller this means that the school is spending money even more efficiently. This is because in a large school, learning resources can be brought to more students at lower costs. This makes a lot of sense because whenever a business purchases resources in bulk, each unit is cheaper than buying a few of the same resources. In effect, it would make sense that a large school should be spending less on each student, whereas, in theory, a small school should be spending more per student.

This essentially shows us that it is possible to provide high quality education to students at very low costs. The key to this goal all boils down to effective spending and efficient teaching. When comparing some of the smaller schools to the larger ones, I was again surprised with a similar trend. One way that large high schools can improve is by trying to lower costs wherever they can. Since these large schools are educating thousands of students, even decreasing the amount spent per student by $100 can save the schools hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It would next be logical to ask about different ways that small schools act to decrease costs. This can be done in a number of ways. By collaborating with other schools, administrators can learn about other methods schools in adjacent areas are using to cut costs. This may be a difficult task because all schools have a very different makeup of students. Also, there are several other factors that administrators would be unable to change, such as parental involvement in school and the life of students outside the classroom. Even though this is a daunting task, we can often learn from those around us and benefit off of each other’s advancements and mistakes.

Overall, we know that it is possible for schools to provide high quality education to students simply by ensuring money is being spent and utilized effectively and efficiently. It is surprising that small schools can pull off such as feat, where numbers and costs are working against this idea. Therefore, if larger schools can look to others and even reduce costs by a few hundred dollars per student, schools will see a massive amount of savings.

Source: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/top-100-public-schools-2012/

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the valuable infοrmation you provіde in your articles.
I will bοokmark your weblοg anԁ check again here frequently.
I'm quite sure I'll leагn plеnty of new
stuff right here! Good luck fог the nеxt!
Feel free to visit my web blog ... paintball birthday party