“Budget cuts” hit Santa Fe Schools

We are told by the Santa Fe New Mexican that Santa Fe’s public school district is expecting a “budget shortfall between $9 million and $13 million for fiscal year 2024.”

The article readily notes that this is the result of a falling student population and even notes that the District expects a decline of 250 students year-over-year. So, while there ARE certain fixed costs there are obviously other costs that can be reduced as student populations decline (as they have for years).

What is really notable is that the article notes the expected student population is 10,946 and the District’s budget is approximately $320 million.  Simple division gets us per-pupil spending of a robust $29,234 PER STUDENT. The number is up from the $25,000 per-pupil that Santa Fe schools were spending back in 2019/2020.

If you can’t educate children at over $29,000 per student you’re doing something wrong. Of course, it isn’t just Santa Fe. As the chart below highlights New Mexico public schools in general are losing students even while spending continues to grow. Perhaps they ALL are doing something wrong.

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2 Replies to ““Budget cuts” hit Santa Fe Schools”

  1. Okay, Rio Grande Foundation,

    Please tell us, what is Santa Fe Public Schools and the rest of the nation doing wrong? This is not unique. While the numbers may be true, what the rest of the story?

    Because as a homeowner that constantly sees my tax property bill increase due to new charter schools in the county and general frustration with Santa Fe Public Schools as an entity, I also see the public schools serving as food centers, dental, eye and other health care centers, day care centers and other needs for legitimate needed children.

    Isn’t open market supposed to cure this? The free market and libertarian practices are not serving all and the panacea it’s claimed to be. It might be part of the answer, but based on current history, it is falling very shorr.

    1. Wow, what are the schools doing wrong? That’s a big question, but let’s start with them being a taxpayer-funded government monopoly. Worse, New Mexico uses a complicated statewide funding formula that leads to gaming the system and lack of accountability. This is the opposite of the free market. At a minimum I’d like to see real school choice where families could take the money and use it as they see fit for educational needs. That’s at least a starting point toward a free market solution.

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