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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

How much the district spends per student
By Dave Timmerman


March 15, 2013
Friday PM

There have been a couple of letters here to SitNews that have stated how much it costs to educate a student in Ketchikan. I was startled at both of the numbers stated so I had to look into it.

The district has a current budget of $30,000,000 (a little less actually).

The district has about 2200 students.

$30,000,000 divided by 2200 students equals $13,636 per student.

That $30,000,000 (a little less actually) includes all grant money, federal money, state money, miscellaneous money, and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough contribution (money).

I then wanted to know how we rated on the national level. Googled a bit. Found an article on CNN that stated the following:

Highest per-pupil spending
Washington, D.C. - $18,667
New York - $18,618
New Jersey - $16,841
Alaska - $15,783
Vermont - $15,274
Wyoming - $15,169
Connecticut - $14,906
Massachusetts - $14,350
Maryland - $13,738
Rhode Island - $13,699

Lowest per-pupil spending
Utah - $6,064
Idaho - $7,106
Arizona - $7,848
Oklahoma - $7,896
Tennessee - $8,065
Mississippi - $8,119
North Carolina - $8,409
Nevada - $8,483
Florida $8,741
Texas - $8,746

I don't really trust much in first read---but thankfully there is a link in the article that leads to the US Census (2010).

The numbers listed in the article are confirmed by the census site. Interesting read if you are looking to compare a lot of numbers to a lot of different things from a lot of places.

What I got out of this is that we are smack dab in the middle of the national average. We are also a couple thousand dollars below the Alaska state average. Not bad really, for an island in Alaska where the cost of living is quite a bit higher than the majority of the last three states I recently visited.

Do I think that more money put into a district means a better education? Not necessarily. There are lots of examples nation-wide where that is not the case.

Do I think that our district could use a little more money to do the best job they can? Yes. And that is looking at it from the bottom of the budget all the way to the top. From the first page to the last. It just can t be a good thing to loose art, music, more janitors, vocational classes or AP classes, and THAT is the point the district is at.

I agree with Agnes Moran when she states, The real solution to the dilemma of education funding lies in getting the State to live up to its Constitutional responsibility for education and fully fund basic need for all school districts.

I fully support the Borough Assembly as they lobby the state on funding rules that I also think are inequitable.

But until the Assembly has success on that fron t--- we the community --- have to make sure the right thing is done for our kids.

Dave Timmerman
dltimmerman [at]
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Citizen, father, coach, concerned."

Editor's Note: Dave Timmerman is a member of the Ketchikan School Board.

Received March 14, 2013 - Published March 15, 2013

Related Viewpoints:

letter Education Funding Cap By Agnes Moran

letter Ketchikan's Own Sequestration! By Gene Peterson



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