The Maryland State Department of Education released figures today that, for the first time, show per-pupil spending by school. Federal legislation in the Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to report per-pupil expenditures of federal, state and local funds, including personnel and non-personnel operating expenses, by source, for each district and school.
A number of factors determine a school’s per-pupil spending. Some are not readily apparent when attempting to compare schools’ spending without knowing more about the reasons for each school’s costs. Some factors that affect spending are maintenance and operations costs, which vary by a school’s age and size; the number of students receiving special education services and other district-level supports; the staff’s education and tenure, which determine salaries; and the complexity of services employed to ensure achievement for various student populations. The formula used to determine a school’s per-pupil spending divides school costs by enrollment.This means the per-pupil spending data shown is typically higher for schools with lower enrollment.
Providing equitable instruction to students attending a specialized program often requires expertise and resources beyond those required to meet student needs at other schools. For the 2018-2019 school year (fiscal year 2019), which the newly reported data reflects, FCPS offered specialized programs such as Challenges, Learning for Life and Pyramid programs in 27 schools. Some schools offered more than one of these programs.
“In support of the school system’s goal to pursue and utilize all resources strategically and responsibly to achieve identified outcomes and inspire public confidence, FCPS is committed to providing equitable distribution of all resources based on the varied needs of students and schools and to promoting clear communication and transparency in allocation of resources,” says Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. “This new financial reporting presents a new opportunity for the FCPS community to examine the use of resources through an equity lens,” Alban says.
Data for the 2018-2019 school year is online at https://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov. It includes each school’s enrollment. The comments section indicates whether the school offered a specialized program.