Friday, June 12, 2015

Charter Schools Increasingly More Efficient in Hoboken, NJ: Total Funding vs. Per Pupil Expenses from 2009 to 2015

Memorial Day Parade- Hoboken, NJ 1915
6th and Washington St- Hoboken Historical Museum
Because we have data over time we can do some interesting longitudinal comparisons and spot trends and trend lines that are not always as clear when comparing data from one year to the next. I decided to look at two sets of numbers that have been talked about a fair amount lately. One is the amount of funds allocated to charter schools and the other is per pupil spending. From 2009-10 to 2014-15 we can see that money sent to the 3 charter schools in Hoboken, New Jersey has gone from $4,180, 880 to $8,386,226. During that same time, the number of students enrolled in charter schools has gone from 311 to 626 students and the per pupil costs has gone from $13,443 to $13,396 (see full data at end of this post). But when we plot trend lines (dotted lines), we see an unmistakable downward trend in per pupil spending over a 6 year period vs the resources allocated to charter schools.
Click to Enlarge 
According to a newspaper report published on April 23, 2015, the per pupil cost in the traditional public school district in Hoboken, NJ is $24,318 and is the highest in the its county (Hudson County, NJ). The higher per pupil spending of the traditional public schools in Hoboken vs. charter schools is often attributed to the high cost of educating children with special needs. But a recent analysis indicates the Hoboken School District is made up of 11% children with special needs while the charter schools in Hoboken are comprised of 8% special needs children.

The chart presents a fairly clear indication of increased efficiency over time as well as value added should the trends play out over the next couple of years. In essence, as charter schools educate more students in Hoboken, they do so with greater financial efficiency and without compromising quality. In truth, the perception and reality of better educational quality is magnified by the educational outcomes of the Hoboken School District under the stewardship of a group known as "Kids First" who have had super majority control of the Hoboken School District since May of 2009 (Click for more information: HERE1, HERE2, HERE3, HERE4).

Data: New Jersey Department of Education