The actual costs of Education in Maine and what we get for it:

 

Richard Light

2/18/2016

 

We should want nothing more than for great teachers to make great pay in amazing schools preparing our kids to think and innovate for the world of tomorrow. 

 

The factual Data:

·         The total expenditure of Maine taxes in 2013 was $5,300,000,000 (5.3 billion dollars)

http://www.nasbo.org/

https://ballotpedia.org/Maine_state_budget_and_finances

 

·         The total dollar amount spent on Public Education is $3,100,000,000

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_2004_2021MEb_17c1li211mcn_20c

 

·         185,767 is the number of students serviced by public education in 2013

http://maine.gov/doe/inside/snapshot.html

 

·         15,324 is the number of teachers serving Maine students in public schools

http://maine.gov/doe/inside/snapshot.html

 

·         These numbers indicate that the average class room composition in Maine is 1 teacher per 13 (12.122) students at a cost of $16,686.57 per student per year.

·         School lasts approximately 9 months, meaning kids are worth $1,854.17 per month to the DOE.

 

A school of 100 kids and 19 well-paid employees:

 

Let us look at a school plan that works for 100 kids, employs 10 teachers (that is a 10:1 Student:Teacher ratio), employs 1 school counselor, 1 janitor, 1 secretary, 1 administrator, 1 music teacher, 1 art teacher,2 kitchen staff, and 1 school nurse:

 

The Department of Education should be putting $1,668,657.00 toward the education of 100 students; the reality is that they do not come close to that.

If we paid every employee in the school a flat $50,000 per year (well above what they pay teachers, janitors, counselors, nurses, and secretaries right now), the cost for the 19 staff members would total $950,000.

The remaining $718,657 would go toward a building, running costs, and teaching materials.

Now.. you could buy a new school, new books, new computers, new seats, new instruments, new sports equipment, clothing, food,  transportation, and high levels of training every year with ¾ of a million dollars…

 

So why is public education unable to offer this?

How is public Education unable to offer every staff member in the school $50,000 a year?

How is a system that receives over 1.5 million dollars for every 100 kids unable to educate our children with as high a quality as other States and nations who function with a percentage of our costs?

 

Where does the money go?

 

The reality is…everyone is leaching off this system to pay for their personal gains (unions, administrators, legislators, and crony suppliers of school “services”).

 

Options and the law:

 

Every child in America deserves a high-quality education, regardless of family income, ability or background. If children are not learning and schools do not improve, parents should have options, including sending children to better public schools, charter schools or private or parochial schools. On June 27, 2002, the United States Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s school choice program giving families nationwide more options in providing their children with a high caliber education.

(TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2002 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY, Washington, DC)

 

 

The Cost of Private Education in the United States

 

                According to an article by David Salisbury in USA Today, the average tuition of private elementary schools in 2000 was $3,500 per year or less. For private secondary schools in the same year, the average tuition was $6,052. These statistics are included and elaborated upon in another article by Salisbury, which appears in Policy Analysis. In fact, according to Table 2 of Salisbury's more detailed article, the majority of private schools have tuitions below $5,000. For the academic year of 1999-2000, 41% of private schools charged less than $2,500 in tuition, 38% of schools charged between $2,500 and $4,999 in tuition, and only 21% of schools charged $5,000 or more in tuition (Salisbury, 2003). In the article that he wrote for Policy Analysis, Salisbury (2003) points out that the average public school spending for each pupil is $8,830 a year.

In his article, Salisbury outlines two major options that would allow families to use state funds in order to finance a private school education: tax credits and school vouchers. Under the tax credit system, families would pay for a child's tuition using their own funds, and then they would receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state income taxes. Salisbury argues that a tax credit system would also have to include scholarship tax credits, which would allow all other tax payers who make contributions to scholarship-granting organizations within the state to receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state income taxes.

                Under a voucher system, families are given a portion of school tuition in the form of a voucher from the state. The parents or guardian of a child can then use that voucher in order to send their child to a public school or a private school. If the cost of the private school were to exceed the value of the voucher, then the family would be responsible for paying the difference. Three factors of voucher programs arise in determining whether or not families are eligible for the voucher, defining which schools are eligible, and disseminating available funds (Metcalf & Legan, 2002). These issues vary from program to program, and must be decided upon by those who oversee the disbursement of voucher funds.

Based on these options, Salisbury (2003) argues that "an ideal school choice program would give every child a voucher or tax credit to be spent on educational services at any public or private school" (1). Salisbury believes that a voucher of $5,000 would be enough to allow most children to attend the majority of private schools. While many people oppose vouchers based on the belief that vouchers would only serve to create greater distinctions between under-privileged and more-privileged children, research has shown that "vouchers provide educational opportunities to low-income families that would otherwise be unavailable to them" (Metcalf & Legan, 2002). Further, vouchers have a positive effect on parental involvement in and satisfaction with schools; they also may create useful changes in public schools in the areas of operation and performance (Metcalf & Legan, 2002).

The statistics seem to be in favor of voucher programs. According to the information that I have gathered on school vouchers, they enable greater choices and opportunities for all students.

(University of Michigan, 2014)

 

School options: costs and benefits

 

The average private school costs approximately $4,750 per year; public school costs upwards of $16,000.

“Students from private schools on average outperformed students from public schools in mathematics and reading achievement”

(U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 Mathematics and Reading Assessments.)

 

We suffer because of the government monopoly on education. The costs for public schools are higher, learning results are lower in public schools, and the best staff who work with kids are paid less in public schools…

 

We deserve better, our teachers deserve more, all staff members deserve more, the kids deserve more, and we should do what we can to work toward a great educational system for Maine not against it.