Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hoboken School District Enrollment Down 20% in 4 years yet Budget Continues to Rise; Analysis of Special Education Enrollment Reveals 3% Difference with Charters

Budget time is always an interesting time. What is particularly interesting is hearing the rationale's for why the school budget must increase in light of plummeting overall enrollment. Attempts have been made to blame the city's charter schools. Well-- let's look at the numbers.
There is a great deal of information that can be gleamed from official state numbers. For instance in 2010 the K-12 enrollment (including special education children) for the Hoboken School District was 2346 students. By October of 2014, the K-12 enrollment (including special education children) for the Hoboken School District was 1897 students. This represents a reduction of -20% in four years. There was a total reduction of 449 students.  During the same time period charter school enrollment (including special needs children) went from 468 students to 684 students for a total gain of 216 students or an enrollment gain of +46%.

Special Education Another general claim made often by the Hoboken School Board is that they need to educate a great number of special education students and by implication that charter schools do not. A look at the 2014 ASSA data shows that out of the 1897 students in the Hoboken School District, 208 are classified by the district as special education. This works out to 11% of the total K-12 district enrollment. As we have seen, the 2014 ASSA report indicates that charter school educate a total of 684 students, 53 of which are classified as special education. This works out to 8%. 11% vs. 8%- evidently charters ARE educating a fair amount of children with special needs, contrary to popular opinion. Yet the Hoboken School District would like people to believe they are the only public school educating children with special needs. If fact, this is one of the long held explanations for the $26,000+ per pupil spending in the school district vs. $12,000 per student for the charter schools. 

So, a reasonable question might be why does the budget keep rising when the overall enrollment of the district is down 449 students since 2010? and even when considering charter school enrollment, the district's enrollment is still down 223 students and the population of children classified as ending special education is only 2% higher in the Hoboken School District than in the city's charter schools?