More Money and Less Education in Richmond

On the subject of spending for schools, the VDOE Web Site has 2019 data for division income by source and fall enrollments of both economically disadvantaged (“ED”) students and their more affluent peers (“Not ED”).

The division income totals per student, plotted against the % of ED enrollment, looks like this:


Richmond is the enlarged, yellow point. The red points are, from the left, the peer cities Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk.

The fitted line suggests that per student division income increases by $68 for a 10% increase in the ED percentage but the R-squared value tells us the variables are uncorrelated.

Richmond is in 15th place in this find-the-money derby.


In terms of local funding, Richmond again is above average but down in 27th place.


The R-squared value of 7% suggests a slight correlation between local funding and % ED, but in the decreasing direction.

The other funding sources present a more interesting picture.


State funding shows a modest correlation, R-squared = 22%, while the federal data exhibit a more robust R-squared of 42%. Funding in both categories increases with increasing % ED.  Richmond is well below the fitted curve for state funding, with part of that gap closed by Uncle Sam.

The Sales Tax funding is essentially flat.

Looking again at just the Big Winners:


Here we see that larger than average local taxes support the effort in every case while the State accounts for some of the excess in Highland and Sussex and the federales do so in Surry, Sussex, and Richmond.

Of course, once that money comes in the divisions spend it.  We earlier saw the expenditure data juxtaposed with Richmond’s lousy performance:


If only Richmond would stop whinging about money and start educating its schoolchildren.