APS Real Cost Per Pupil: $14,525

I have written a great deal this week about annual spending on public education in New Mexico. Read here and here.

APS Board Chairman Martin Esquivel attacked RGF as “right wing,” etc. for citing Census data claiming that per-pupil spending in NM is $9,000 annually. Esquivel strongly denied that and cited numbers approximating $3,000 annually. Well, the good news is that we have firm data on what APS spends. And, to put it nicely, APS spends way MORE than the $9,000 annually put out by the Census Bureau.

According to the APS website, the total budget for the district this year is $1.3 billion. Also according to APS figures, the district educates 89,500 students. From there it is simple math. How do the numbers shake out? It turns out that APS actually spends a remarkable $14,525 annually per-pupil.

As Adam Schaeffer of the Cato Institute points out in his recent report on education spending, APS is not alone in attempting to obfuscate how much it really spends on education. If Esquivel is so concerned about a 500 student school that is making due with “only” one principal, the issue is in mis-allocation of resources, not a lack of resources.

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6 Replies to “APS Real Cost Per Pupil: $14,525”

  1. Since APS is spending 17 million dollars for interactive whiteboards (electronic blackboards), overan the budget for Heritage High School in excess of 10 million dollars and “misplaced” 15+ million dollars (yes, that’s misplaced), last year – I’m pretty sure APS is not lacking in resources. As someone observed the other day, “you don’t have to be eligible to take the potato salad to the mensa picnic to figure that out!”

  2. If all this spending is not working and we have schools that are failing why not go back to basic’s. Provide everyone with good books, respect back in the classroom, put our efforts into great teachers. Computers belong in the home along with tons of great books and willing parents to turn off the junk on TV! Parents need to take responsibility for their children’s education.

  3. One problem is voters approve bonds that increase capital outlay (buildings, equipment) but don’t translate into operational monies (payroll, utilities, etc.) By law these are separate non-transferable funds. Something needs to be done to facilitate efficient spending based on sound fiscal policies not “spend what you got so you don’t lose it” philosophy that pervades all forms of government. We are attacking symptoms when we need to deal with the causes. Clearly having big bucks in one area (capital outlay) when you are broke in another area (operational) is a sign that there is a significant problem but I don’t hear anyone addressing this. Hello…

  4. Most sites report that the nat’l avg. cost/student for public education is about $9,500. CA reports an avg. cost of $7,200/student. Economies of scale exist, but may not justify this diference. Most will agree that students in NM do not appear to be benefiting from the additional money spent in this sate, compared to the nat’l average.

    An evaluation of amt. spent should inlude the purchase power of the educational dollar. My personal experience with 3 children together with the reports about NM public education achievement data, do not support the additional funding. But, perhaps there are extenuating circumstances that I am unaware of, which makes education, even poor education, more expensive to deliver in New Mexico.

    I was surprised to hear that it is “appropriate” according to APS, to enroll all students for Advanced Program classes. I can’t verify this, but heard it from a reliable source. If accurate, this would mean that if you are a student experiencing difficulty reading and writing, you could still enroll in the “Gifted Program for Reading and Writing”. This is politicaly estute for our state but defeats the purpose for having AP classes in the first place.

    Whether you are a supporter or a critic of APS, you will have to agree that the student population has a very wide IQ variance. APS largely supports a “one size fits all” approach and does not atempt to distinguish between students aptitude or IQ for class or teacher assignment.

  5. Aps installs the most energy inefficient equipment to save money during new construction and then complains about high operating costs. With this type of thinking we will never be able to keep up with building operating cost much less teachers pay.

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