In tandem with my prior entry on Bill Gates and per-pupil-spending in education being dramatically accelerated by special needs programming, check out the good work at DeKalb County School Watch, which has posted per pupil spending by school in the county.
While there are some oddities to DeKalb’s spending patterns, it’s apparent that three conditions impact education costs: children receiving special services and the intensity of those services, the number of low-income children, and the school size.
(Please note that the DeKalb school spending nearly $36,000 per student has 78 children with profound disabilities.)
Some of our most outrageously expensive programs are of course high needs special education (Margaret Harris spends $35,942.47 on average per pupil and Coralwood: $24,881.44 per pupil). But you may be surprised to learn that some of our alternative programs cost much more (Some examples: DeKalb Truancy: $45,292.61 per pupil, DeKalb Early College Academy: $14,410.78 per pupil, Elizabeth Andrews HS: $12,151.96 per pupil, DeKalb Alternative: $20,792.11 and DeKalb Alternative Night School: $18,958.90, DeKalb Transition: $20,265.86, Gateway to College Charter: $16,319.21).
The “regular” elementary schools is where the funding is all over the board. We spend anywhere from a low of $6,920.66 per pupil at Dunwoody Elementary to a high of $12,857.36 at Knollwood ES. Again, on the low end, we have Narvie Harris at $7,600.40 per pupil, Fernbank at $7,894.97 per pupil, Oak Grove at $7,930.98 per pupil and Vanderlyn at $7,954.17 per pupil. Over at the high end, we top off spending at Wadsworth where we spend $13,010.20 per pupil. Nipping at Wadsworth’s spending heels is Gresham Park at $12,804.60 per pupil, Huntley Hills at $12,275.73 per pupil, Bob Mathis at $12,207.36, Peachcrest at $11,872.83 and Sky Haven at $11,828.01 per pupil. (In case you’re wondering, Kittredge isn’t far behind at $11,001.34 per pupil.)
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog