Robin Nelson Miller of Concerned Citizens of Pickens County often says our school district only spends $7,900 per student. Her refrain is then usually, that isnít enough. If that was total spending per student, I would agree with her. That figure, however, does not represent total spending, but is only a partial spending number.
That $7,900 figure comes from the state report card for the School District of Pickens County.
If she would agree to debate me on all these issues, things like this would be cleared up. But she refuses, and continues to spout the understated figure as the total spending per student.
The $7,900 figure from the report card includes ONLY operations, not total expenses including debt payments and capital spending. Roll-up reports like the report card have a lot of calculated figures listed and unless you know the figures, and how they are calculated, things like this will get past you.
I wrote the chief financial officers of the SC Department of Education and she confirmed when they calculate the cost per student on the report card, it doesn't include debt and building costs. Indeed the $7,900 is understated.
Jinnette, Mellanie B <MJinnett@ed.sc.gov>
To 'email@example.com'<Alex Saitta>
CC Hearn, Cynthia A.
Mrs. Hearn in our Office of Research and Data Analysis forwarded me your email to provide some explanation of the report per pupil calculation seen on the districts report card.
The Per pupil expenditure is calculated as follows:
Total Expenditures across all funds
Less: Debt Service Expenditures
Less: Capital Project Expenditures
Total Operating Expenditures/Average Daily membership from the reporting year + 3&4 year olds.
Please donít hesitate to let me know if you have other questions.
Chief Financial Officer
SC Department of Education
1429 Senate Street Room 308B
Columbia, SC 29201
You have to look at the raw data of total spending the past year from the certified audit to get the total spending figure and hence the total spending per student in Pickens County schools.
In September our external auditor (who was just finishing the annual audit) presented to the school board. Watching the video with your own ears and eyes you can see me ask the question, what total spending this past year? He said $193.4 million. Divide that by 16,500 students and it yields the total cost per student is $11,721.