Thursday, April 20, 2006

Math Problems

There is a blog going on at the Journal Times called "Is Unified a bargain?" The author, Brent Killackey, indicates that the per student operations cost at Unified is $10, 048. This according to the Public Policy Forum. There are roughly 21,000 students at Unified. $10,048 X 21,ooo = $211,008,000. The RUSD budget this year is in the neighborhood of $260 million.

The way I figure it, the per student cost is roughly $12,500. I arrive at that number by dividing total spending, $260 million, by the number of students, 21,000.

Therefore there is roughly a $49 million difference between "per student operations cost" and per student cost.

The Public Policy Forum "per student operations cost" is a useless number unless we are informed as to what is included in "per student operations cost" and what is not included. When the Journal Times uses useless and unexplained terminology like "per student operations cost", they are doing a disservice to their readers, who would understandably believe that "per student operations cost" is the same as per student cost. As a result, they are misinformed after reading the article.

Keep in mind, however, that not everyone is disserved by this misinformation. RUSD benefits because people will not know the truth about the actual cost of educating a Unified student. A misinformed public will more likely vote in favor of the annual referenda.

So what we have here is a news source and an education source working together to mislead the public.

2 comments:

Brenda said...

Dividing the RUSD total budget by total number of students to get the per student cost? Denis, you may have something thing here...

I think the district should to bring you on as a consultant to teach math! :)

Peter said...

Either way, five figures per student to produce monumental stupidity is no bargain.

When you figure over a third of Racine adults 18-24 don't have even a HS diploma ....