As we close out this school year, taxpayers may wonder what kind of bang we're getting for our educational buck, asks Michael Quinn Sullivan, President and CEO of Empower Texans.
- Texans now spend more than $11,000 per year, per student on public education -- with less than half going toward instructional expenses.
- In the 2008-2009 school year -- the last for which data is available -- Texas schools spent $11,084 per kid; 10 years ago, Texas spent just $5,857 per pupil.
- If per pupil spending had risen with inflation, the cost after 10 years would have approximately been $7,545.
So where is the money going? Well, it's not going to the classroom, says Sullivan:
- If you think of each kid the way school bureaucrats do -- as bags of money -- and consider your average third-grade class capped at 22 students per teacher, that's $243,848 sitting there.
- But the money isn't going to the teacher; average teacher pay was $47,313 in the 2008-2009 school year (up from $34,357 a decade ago).
So where's the other $200,000 derived from our average classroom going, asks Sullivan:
- Of the $11,084 spent per pupil on public education in 2009, only $4,831 went for anything that could even remotely be considered "instructional" expenses as defined by the Texas Education Agency.
- Over the last decade, student enrollment has risen 15 percent -- from 3.9 million students to 4.6 million students.
- In that same period, the number of teachers grew accordingly, at 19.3 percent.
- We now have 14.4 students for every teacher (in 1999 it was 15.2 students per teacher).
But non-teachers? That's where the growth is. We had 22 percent more in 2009 than in 1999, says Sullivan.
So for all this spending, and for all these new, non-classroom employees, surely there's been some marked improvement in academic performance. Actually, there's been a decline in results, says Sullivan:
- The average Texas SAT score in 1999 was a 992.
- Over 10 years it has fallen to 988.
TEXAS SCHOOL SPENDING TOPS $11K PER PUPIL