More Money for What?

Table 13 in the 2016 Superintendent’s Annual Report sets out the fiscal year’s disbursements by school division. 

The table reports day school disbursements (administration, instruction, attendance & health, pupil transportation, and O&M) plus disbursements for food service, summer school, adult education, pre-K, “other” educational, facilities, debt service, and contingency reserve.  See the footnotes to Table 13 for the details about these categories.  The numbers below omit facilities, debt service, and contingency reserve.

Taking the division totals, and dividing by the year-end Average Daily Membership (“ADM”), we see the following distribution:

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Richmond is one of the three divisions at $15,500.

Note: Excel’s histogram analysis rounds up, so Richmond’s $15,052, Charles City’s $15,237, and Franklin City’s $15,317 all get reported at $15,500.

Looking at Richmond, the division average, and the peer cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk, we see:

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Richmond’s $3,051 excess over the state average, times our ADM of 1,253.51 21,826.00, (Oops!  Thanks Jeremy!) gives an excess disbursement of $66.6 million.

Plotting the division average reading pass rates v. the disbursements gives the following graph:

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Richmond is the gold square.  The red diamonds, from the left, are Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk.

The least squares fitted line suggests that pass rates decrease with increasing division disbursements but the R-squared tells us that the two variables are uncorrelated.

Here is the same graph for the math SOLs:

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The next time somebody starts claiming that Richmond needs more money, it might be useful to ask what they are doing with the excess $66.6 million they already are spending to achieve the lowest reading and second-lowest math pass rates in Virginia.