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Debunking the misinformation about Chatham County's K-8 funding

By Cali Downs
Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - I have repeatedly seen erroneous information about how 'overfunded' the K-8 schools are in Chatham County. I've even heard them referred to as 'boutique schools', which makes me wonder what boutiques these people frequent. Please look at the facts before making these blanket statements.

In every case there is NO clear delineation of K-8s being the most expensive and K-5s being the least.

Employee costs is only one of the ways schools receive benefits from the county, but that is where this started. Taking the actual costs spent per school (per the spreadsheet from Susan Little at the Central Office), and removing line items specific to PreK, special needs, and Title 1 funds as these are separate issues, I have calculated the cost spent by the local funds only as well as the total cost per school. Note that these would actually make schools with higher teacher retention more expensive as well, as it is the actual costs spent at these schools on employees.

For anyone interested in the actual numbers and how they were calculated I'm happy to provide the excel spreadsheets.

If you look at the cost of employees by school you will find that local funds (fund 2 and fund 5) are paid in the following order (highest to lowest) Moncure (K-8), Chatham Middle (6-8), Siler City Elementary (K-5), North Chatham (K-5), Virginia Cross (K-5), Bennett (K-8), Pittsboro Elementary (K-4), Perry Harrison (K-5), Bonlee (K-8), JS Waters (K-8), Horton Middle (5-8), Silk Hope (K-8), and MB Pollard (6-8). Note that Moncure is higher as it only receives $180 per student in federal funds where the other schools range from $561 to $1474 per student in federal funds.

When total costs per student based on all employees per school are calculated the order highest to lowest per student is Bennett (K-8), Virginia Cross (K-5), Siler City Elementary (K-5), Pittsboro Elementary (K-4), Bonlee (K-8), Moncure (K-8), JS Waters (K-8), North Chatham (K-5), Perry Harrison (K-5), Chatham Middle (6-8), Silk Hope (K-8), Horton Middle (5-8), and MB Pollard (6-8).

If you still feel the K-8s are so over funded, you are welcome put in a transfer request to attend one!

As you can see depending which numbers are included the schools sort slightly differently, but in every case there is NO clear delineation of the K-8s being the most expensive and the K-5s being the least.

The argument shouldn't be how to penalize some schools over others, as that only punishes the future of the children that attend....and I should hope we would all want the best for the next generation....not just for certain children selected from the next generation. What we should focus on is how to do better for our children with what we have available, and perhaps the ones to listen to on that are the teachers.

If you still feel the K-8s are so over funded, you are welcome put in a transfer request to attend one!

 
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