School Stats including Cost per Classroom

Here are some 2013 McHenry County school statistics–average expenditure per pupil and per classroom, plus average teach salary–to ponder.

They were calculated by a Friend of McHenry County Blog.

I don’t think I have seen average spending per classroom for McHenry County districts before.

School Statistics 6-15

The data below speaks to the number of students per administrator:
School statistics 6-15 administrators per student


School Stats including Cost per Classroom — 15 Comments

  1. I am gratified to see that D158 is near the bottom of the lists and that they are fiscally conservative.

    Their scores are high and they do an excellent job of educating their students.

    I feel that my tax dollars are well spent!

  2. Looking at just District 200 (and I’m not singling them out as being out of the ordinary) several things pop out.

    Using the numbers above, the average class size in District 200 is 20.5.

    From the Illinois Report Card (, the average spent per pupil in the 2013-2014 school year (operating spending) was $11,813, and the amount spent per pupil on direct instructional spending was $6,063.

    That means that the district spent $5,750 per pupil for things other than direct instructional spending.

    When close to half of what’s spent per pupil is spent outside the classroom, I’d say there’s a problem.

    If instructional costs are $6,063 per pupil, and average class size is 20.5, that means that instructional costs per classroom are just under $125,000.

    With an average salary of $56,900, more than $68,000 per classroom is being spent on instruction over and above teacher salaries.

    I daresay pensions and non-taxable benefits are a big part of that, but that’s still a very large number.

    And by the way, the ISAT composite scores percentage of students in this district that meet or exceed state standards for reading and math is 56%.

    The state average isn’t much better (59%), but if any private enterprise had a 44% failure rate, they’d be out of business.

    From the Report Card:

    • Operating Spending per Pupil includes all costs for overall operations in this school’s district, including Instructional Spending, but excluding summer school, adult education, capital expenditures, and long-term debt payments.

    • Instructional Spending per Pupil includes only the activities directly dealing with the teaching of students or the interaction between teachers and students.

  3. The numbers are skewed based on the fact that some districts include elementary and high schools, others just high schools, others just elementary schools.

  4. The pupil teacher ratio from School District 200 is lower than 17 pupils per teacher, so classroom size of 17, not 20.5, makes it worse.

    (This is according to numbers the District provided in its latest bond issue Official Statement. Student /teacher ratio has been well below twenty for a decade).

    Also, at $11,000,000 debt service divided by 6500 pupils, it adds another $1692 per year per pupil cost not accounted for in stated cost per pupil.

  5. The ‘ expenditure per typical classroom’ is an excellent description of the problem.

    I wonder,how much better the educational results would be if teacher/ entrepreneurs were allowed to setup such classrooms and compete for business….on the basis of both price and quality?

    It sounds like this might present a novel solution to the hugely expensive, poor quality government monopoly stranglehold on the education business.

  6. What is the source of the statistics?

    If the source does not include the State pension contribution to TRS, the numbers are artificially low.

    I have never seen the State pension contribution included.

    There are plenty of other sources of revenue that go into educating a child that may or may not be included in the above numbers.

    Revenue from an amazing array of Federal, State, and Local sources go into educating a child.

  7. Some interesting conclusions can be drawn from this data:

    * The most expensive district spent 90% MORE per pupil than the least expensive district.

    * The most expensive district spent 88% MORE per classroom than the least expensive district.

    * It appears that teachers’ salaries account for less than one-fourth of what most districts spend. Even with benefits, I’ll bet it’s not over one-third.

    * The high school district with the lowest cost per class was District 155 at $236,000, and yet they had the HIGHEST average teacher salary at $79,000, or 46% higher than at Richmond-Burton 157, which spent the MOST per class and had the LOWEST average teacher salary!

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the all the school boards here in McHenry County took a field trip to Aldon-Hebron District 19 and asked them how they do it?

    Given that school districts account for, on average, 70% of our property tax bills, if all the districts could learn to do what Aldon-Hebron does, our property taxes would be cut by a third!

  8. A couple of thoughts:

    1. The average Expenditure/Pupil ratio includes debt service expense. This distorts the amount spent per student as each district carries a different history regarding construction of new schools, etc. Many older districts no longer carry the burden of debt service since their schools were paid off long ago.

    2. The impact of the lack of economies of scale can really be seen in those districts which have smaller enrollments vs the larger districts.

    3. This same lack of economy of scale also drives higher limiting tax rates that are seen in smaller districts. For instance, those tax payers in FRG or PG pay a limiting rate that is 35%-45% higher than neighboring Cary. All of the district tax rates can be found on the Tax Computation Report on the county’s site.

    4. The Pupils/Administrator numbers don’t look right. They don’t come anywhere near to the ratios displayed on the State report card. D-26 188.1 vs 148.3 above, D-155 129.1 vs 188.1 above, D-47 214.1 vs 234.8 above.

  9. Do not assume school debt is righteous debt.

    Woodstock D200 has accumulated $150 million of debt.

    The district taxes 2.71% of total home value (property tax rate in Woodstock is 4.6% of total home value).

    Woodstock D200 debt now amounts to an encumbrance of 6.5% of total home values. ( the statutory debt cap,for Illinois unit school districts is 4.6% of total home value(1/3 of 13.8%)).

    While the Case Schiller index shows home values rising in most of America over the past several years, home values in Woodstock have fallen significantly every single year since the real estate crash in 2008.

    As Woodstock home values fell, year after year, Woodstock nD200 continued to borrow, spend, and hire more every year.

    The pupil/admin ratio is wrong in my opinion also, I believe the official D200 ratio is about 184, but the dollar expenditure per pupil on administration is extraordinarily higher than peer average according to school peer financial comparisons on the website

  10. Atlhletics, athletics, athletics folks.

    My guess is a large chunk is paying stipends and other costs in athletics, which explains Alden Hebron looking so good.

    I know that they pay all their head coaches the same stipend and it’s less than $3,000 per season.

    A number of districts are paying head coaches more than double that number, plus all the assistant coaches and JV coaches stipends start adding up quickly.

    Nobody wants to talk about it because it is the third rail of education.

    The high schools are basically fitness facilities fro 3:00 to 8:00 during the school year and 7:00 to 12:00 during the summer.

    The maintenance of the gyms, fields, transportation, and athletic offices are extremely high.

    Look what happened at McHenry a few years ago at the mere mention of cutting back on athletics.

    I seriously doubt there would be even half as much of an uproar if they decided to cut back on the science curriculum.

    I’m not advocating that we eliminate athletics.

    They provide a great outlet for students and are necessary for a complete education.

    But the degree of expenditure and emphasis has gotten out of hand.

    Ask a cheerleader or dance team member how many hours she practices each year.

    It’s almost as bad as the athletes who train for Olympic skating.

    The saddest part of the athletic scene is to watch parents dish ou tens of thousands of dollars towards the outside clubs in the off season in hopes of their kid getting a sports scholarship.

    If they took the same money and saved it and spent more time helping the kid with academics, they’d get a far better return on investment.

    Academic scholarships outnumber athletic scholarships 12 to 1.

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of cost per student for on athletics which would INCLUDE the cost of debt on the building the gyms, stadiums, and swimming pools, and insurance.

    We’re probably talking about 30- 40 percent of the building cost going towards these facilities, possibly more.

    Alden Hebron is o e of the few schools that has NOT added on new families in the last 20 years.

    That’s where you’ll find the cost difference.

  11. What comprises these numbers?

    Hard to make sense of these unless you know what it includes.

    Until that detailed info is put forth, this info is meaningless and useless, which is great for sensationalism purposes.

  12. Numbers are the opposite of sensationalist.

    Numbers make people think about specific rather than general.

    Numbers which indicate something is very wrong with status quo should induce defenders of status quo to respond with specific numbers in defense of their own position.

  13. The data is what the school districts reported to the the Illinois State Board of Education and were obtained from their official agent.

    Say further it is all funds, excluding only bond proceeds.

    It includes the Education Fund, the Transportation Fund, the Debt Service Fund, et. al.

    It includes the state contributions for pension because even though the districts never touch that money, it is officially theirs by law, so they record as revenue the amount of money the state sets aside for them, and they record the identical amount as an expenditure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *