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post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

That's roughly my district's expenditure per student in the K-5 schools.




I'm no superintendent or lawmaker, so I can scarcely imagine the expense and effort it takes to minimally educate thousands of children, but I'm pretty sure $9000 could go a lot further for homeschoolers or even in a private school. I mean, they're spending $9000 per student, yet the teachers are chronically underpaid and forever threatening strike, the district never has enough books/desks (yet both area high schools just got a new gym... hmm...) and parents in our district are shelling out for everything from markers and pencils to (and this is directly off the list for my 2 who may be going to public school for Kindergarten in Sep) "4 full sized boxes of Kleenex tissues, no aloe/lotion." One could think with a $9000 per student expenditure the school could provide their own snot rags.


But I digress. The real purpose of my thread is not to rant, but just for mental floss.


What would YOU do as a homeschooler if you could spend the same amount on your students as the public school would be spending on them? $9000 budget to spend on anything vaguely under the umbrella of educational. And I know for a fact that our local public k-5 spends good money to send the Kindy class to Krispy Kreme to see how donuts are made so basically anything goes ;)

post #2 of 12

Well seeing as how schools have to budget for mainteance, insurance, and a whole slew of other 'things' we dont actually see that 9k per kid goes very quickly.


But 9k in my house goes toward my 'salary' as a teacher for DS - oopsie see im underpaid already.  then I need a vehicle (just like the school needs buses) and we need benefits (like the staff needs benefits and the students need a health aide at times)


But if I had 9k to spend on 'stuff', well... books, technology, travel, classes...  thats 1k per month roughly and yes it would go rather quickly, esp in the upper years.


(yes i work in a school district and homeschool so I see where that 9k goes)

post #3 of 12
Except my local school can't afford buses for field trips, which students might get once or twice during the year.

That aside, with $9,000 per student and me having 2 students... I'd get a supplemental salary so staying home to teach wasn't a financial burden. Also, we could more easily afford certain curricula and activities. There's still light, heat, and need for a/c here, plus gas for travel might be covered. Not sure how many field trips we'd have but probably more than two.
post #4 of 12

Nine thousand per kid?  We'd travel.  We could go to Australia!  Actually, it would make more sense just to use the extra income to buy a bigger house, but it might be a stretch to call that an educational expense.


I think you'd find that the vast majority of that $9K per kid goes to pay teacher/staff salaries.  That's the case for schools in my area.  If teachers are underpaid and parents are shelling out for supplies, it probably doesn't mean they're wasting the money on unnecessary things; it just means they ought to be spending even more.  But they can't get more without raising everyone's taxes.  Before I started taking minutes for my local school board, I imagined that schools were probably wasting money on all kinds of silly gadgets they didn't need.  Then I got to listen to budget discussions and see how the budget was actually broken down and realized that there was really no way to make a significant dent in it without reducing the number of teachers significantly.  (And if you asked yourself what single thing schools could do to most improve education, the answer would probably be to significantly increase the number of teachers so students could be in smaller classes and get more individual attention.)  Supplies are a pretty small part of the budget and making parents provide them is probably a way of giving everyone the message that they don't have enough money, not a real money-saving necessity.  I think it's an annoying practice that's unfair to lower-income parents.


And you should realize (you probably do), that just because the district's total cost can be divided by the number of students to get a per-student expenditure figure, that doesn't mean that each additional student costs the district $9K more to educate, or that the district can spend $9K less if a student leaves.  Costs like teacher salaries or building maintenance are not directly tied to the specific number of students.  So you're not saving the district $9K if you take your kid out to homeschool him.  (Some homeschooling parents don't realize that.)

post #5 of 12

Since our building and maintenance budget is already taken care of. . . If I had 9K/kid, we would travel for sure.  Not all the time, too much travel would get annoying.  We do, however, have a nice list of places we would like to take the kids.  One or two trips/year would be great.  


I would get nice equipment!  Microscope is a current need right now.  I would also get a telescope if I had the funds.  I would pay for the ridiculously expensive Davis method for my dyslexic daughter.  It might not work, but I would know that I literally tried everything!  I shouldn't complain though, our "everything" has helped a lot!


Extracurriculars would be easier.  My dd would get to go to that cool dance convention this April.  They could take an instrument (or 2).  They could take the really cool, but pricey art classes in town.  I wouldn't "pack" their schedule, but when asked to do something, it would be easier to say 'yes'.  


Finally, instead of a teacher's salary, I think I would be happy with a massage once a month.  :-)



And, FWIW, all school districts handle their money differently.  My father was on the budget board of our school district when I was a kid.  He came home so irritated.  He was frustrated by the amount of waste that was going on in our district.  I don't know if they are still that bad, but anyways.  I do know that they do seem to waste a bunch.  Why can't we reuse textbooks anymore?  Why do they all need to be consumable?  That seems like a financial and environmental waste to me.  I also think that having a "smartboard" in each classroom is a waste.  I asked a kindergarten teacher how she used her's, and she said it was great for calendar time.  Calendar time!  Seriously?  I really don't think the smart board enhances calendar time enough to make it worth the investment in the smart board.  To be fair though, not all the funds for the smart boards were from taxpayer money.  Much was given by the PTA.  At the same time, we couldn't afford to tune the piano.  I would think that part of the PTA money could go to that.  Just saying. . . .



post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I do realize that it's not an actual per-student expenditure ;) I thought that was clear but I guess not! Oops! It was just a mental floss and a bit of a commentary on the elephantitis of the educational system really, I do know it's not realistic that each student actually costs $9000.


Still, it is interesting to think of what would happen if -- very hypothetically speaking -- the system collapsed in on itself and all of that money was suddenly allotted to parents and/or small co-op type schools to educate children instead of being used for all these practical (building, utilities, books, teachers) and bureaucratic elements they are today.

post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by Dela View Post

Still, it is interesting to think of what would happen if -- very hypothetically speaking -- the system collapsed in on itself and all of that money was suddenly allotted to parents and/or small co-op type schools to educate children instead of being used for all these practical (building, utilities, books, teachers) and bureaucratic elements they are today.


I'm not one to deny that there are lots of inefficiencies in the school system. Having said that I live in a small community where the need for the "buildings, utilities" aspect of the school system is very transparent and obvious. We're not big enough to have facilities both within and outside of the school system, so we are under no illusion that if the school disappeared we'd be able to make do. If the school system collapsed, we'd need alternative gathering/meeting places, a gymnasium, alternative sports facilities, a much bigger more functional community library, art spaces, music and theatre rehearsal space, etc. etc. Fortunately for us our school acts not only as a school but as a community learning hub, largely open to the public.


If we didn't have schools, libertarian ideals aside I think we'd need those community learning hubs. Every family would want access to a gymnasium to take their kids to for indoor physical play in the depths of winter or when it's too hot to move outside. Many parents would love to have an art room for large messy projects, and for collaborative projects with other families. Or a large community kitchen. Or a video-conferencing room with super fast connection speeds. Or a theatre space, or a community greenhouse, or a couple of sports fields, or a lending library of toys, books, musicla instruments, science equipment, sports equipment and resources, an animation workshop, a pottery wheel and kiln, a basic recording studio, a woodworking shop. If the school system collapsed, I'd love if rather than turning all the funding over to individuals, communities could use most of the excess funding to repurpose existing spaces for use as community learning hubs. 



post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Heh. Trust a very simple topic to become very complicated and wayyyyy too serious because of my tendency to over-elaborate. I think I'm just going to unsub from the thread and leave it be before my brain explodes.

post #9 of 12

Well, I kind of thought it was an opportunity to brainstorm what parents would want to do if school funding was no longer needed and hence available to families. My answer was to put a large amount into community learning hubs -- providing tools and facilities for things that don't easily fit within our home.



post #10 of 12

This is difficult for me to think about, because I am forever imagining what I could do with more money to throw into the girls' upbringing-- transportation, lessons like gym and riding, more travel, I'd love to quit stressing about adding more work to cover not even basic expenses.... better clothes.....


Stresses me out!  I could spend that money in a heartbeat!

post #11 of 12
Aw, don't go, it's a good thread idea! Something I think about every time someone tells me about living in a state where homeschoolers get stipends. wink1.gif

Right now my answer would be lessons. Right now finances limit us to one per kid; I'd love to be able to say "Yes!" to more paid day camps, etc.
I'd reeeally love to hire someone to take care of the Grandmas on a regular basis so we could travel...but that would be streaching both the budget and the "educational purposes " a bit far!
post #12 of 12

Around here, where schools all need seismic upgrades, the sheer cost of maintaining school brick-and-mortar facilities eats up a huge amount of the budget. 


I am lucky to live in a place where homeschoolers get "stipends". Actually, how it works is we belong to a registered school, but it exists only online. The school gets money per student as other schools do, but they pass a good chunk of that on to us, the parents, and we get to decide how to spend it. Our government is very interested in these programs because they are SO much less expensive to run than brick and mortar schools. But the teachers union doesn't like it because the teachers are all part time (no more than 10 learners per teacher; many take on less than that). I think the teachers are not as well paid either, but they do get to work from home, with flexible hours, and that is a plus when you have young kids at home. 


I honestly think there are far more efficient ways to educate children than warehousing them. Our town is not a big one (though bigger than Miranda's) and we have a lovely library, aquatic centre, etc. and other community spaces. They are used during day and evening, far outside regular school hours, and they are accessible to anyone, not just kids. A far better use of money IMO. 


Of course the only problem is that many kids come from two-parent working families or single working parent families and they need babysitters for their kids. But perhaps that could be provided at less cost than the school system. 


It's a really fun thought experiment to see how education could be changed, given the homeschooling options and resources that are out there. 

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