( – promoted by Sue Prent)
The Campaign for Vermont recently released an Education Research Tool with spending figures for all Vermont schools. I was shocked to see that BFA tops the list at $30,859 per pupil per year. Fortunately, this number is totally inaccurate.
The Agency of Education and the BFA Annual Report from 2013 both show an equalized annual per pupil spending of $14,325 for fiscal year 2014. Why the big difference? I believe that it stems largely from the use of the budgets of the high school and the tech center together divided by an inaccurate pupil count for the high school alone to arrive at a grossly inaccurate spending number. I leave it to readers to decide whether this was a willful manipulation of the data or just bad methodology.
I applaud the Campaign for Vermont for their effort to shine light on education spending, but erroneous data causes confusion. Misinformation is worse than no information at all. I encourage everyone to educate themselves as to the real spending at each of our schools- and to look beyond test scores to outcomes like employment, graduation rates, and college enrollment as evidence of value for our tax dollars.
In Montpelier we are looking at changes in school property tax formulations, school governance and other policies that should reduce cost and improve outcomes for Vermont students. Data is very useful, but inaccurate data can be misleading and dangerous.
I applaud the work of FCSU and BFA administrators, staff and school board members. I’m very happy to report that, contrary to the Campaign for Vermont’s ERT, BFA’s per pupil spending is below the state average for Vermont high schools.
Representative Mike McCarthy