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The cost of education

Published: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 1:52 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 1:57 p.m. CST

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series on the cost of education in the United States.

What does it cost to educate the youth of this nation?

Teachers and classrooms and books are needed no matter where the students are, but the cost of providing those things varies greatly.

The nation’s elementary-secondary public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2010, up 1.1 percent from the previous year, according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. District of Columbia public schools led the way, spending $18,667 per student. States that spent the most per pupil were New York ($18,618), New Jersey ($16,841), Alaska ($15,783), Vermont ($15,274) and Wyoming ($15,169). Illinois ranked 16th, spending $11,634 per student.

These statistics come from “Public Education Finances: 2010,” a Census Bureau report that provides tables and figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets of the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems for the 2010 fiscal year. The report included detailed statistics on spending — such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits — at the national, state and school district levels.

On the county level, when it comes to total revenue, the Bureau Valley School District leads the way, with $13,863,000, followed by Princeton Elementary with $11,959,000 and Princeton High School with $7,924,000.

At the bottom end of the scale is the Dalzell School District with $643,000, followed by Cherry with $901,000 and Ohio High School with $926,000.

The districts receiving the largest amount of revenue from federal sources are Princeton Elementary with $1.4 million, and the DePue School District with $1.3 million. Ohio High School receives the least amount of federal funds with only $65,000.

The districts receiving the largest amount of revenue from state sources are Bureau Valley with $6.4 million, and Princeton Elementary with $5.1 million. Ohio High School receives the least amount of state funds with only $305,000.

The pattern is mostly the same with local funds. The districts receiving the largest amount of revenue from local sources are Bureau Valley with $5.8 million, and Princeton Elementary with $5.5 million. However, the Dalzell District receives the least amount of local funds with $212,000.

What comes in must go out, and when it comes to total expenses Bureau Valley leads the way again with $1.3 million, followed by Princeton Elementary with $1.2 million. Dalzell is the only district with expenses less than $1 million at $671,000.

The largest share of expenses is for instruction, and Princeton Elementary leads the way with expenses of $7.4 million, followed by Bureau Valley with $7.0 million. Dalzell spends the least on instruction with $315,000.

The next biggest share of expenses is for support services. Bureau Valley spends the most in that area with $4.4 million, followed by Princeton Elementary with $3.9 million. Dalzell again spends the least with $208,000.

In general, revenue and expenses are related to enrollment, and secondary schools tend to be more expensive than elementary schools.

Princeton Elementary has the highest enrollment in the county with 1,311 students, followed by Bureau Valley with 1,232. Ohio High School with its 41 students has the lowest enrollment, followed by the Cherry School District with 58 students.

See Saturday’s BCR for how Bureau County schools measure up on a per student basis.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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