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Hartselle Enquirer

System's per-pupil spending lower than state average

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's School System is in the bottom half of the state when it comes to spending per pupil, yet its students perform better than their counterparts across Alabama on the array of standardized tests used to judge a system's progress.
Hartselle spends $6,314 per student, per year on education with total yearly revenues of $22.4 million. Some 59 percent of those revenues come from state funding; 30 percent from local education taxes; 5.5 percent from federal funding; and the remainder from other sources.
The system's per-pupil spending gives it a "C" grade. The state average for spending per pupil is $6,408. In spite of the lower-than-average expenditures, Hartselle's students outperformed the state average in almost every category, including the reading and math assessments, graduation exam and writing tests. The results of the battery of tests were released last week.
Morgan County's System spends $7,100 per year, per student. It has yearly revenues of $57.2 million with 50 percent coming from the state; 36 percent from local taxes; 8 percent from federal funding and the remainder from other sources. Morgan County earns a "B" for its per-pupil spending.
The highest per pupil spending is $8,615 by the Mountain Brook School System. That system also reports the highest percentage – some 58 percent of revenues – coming from local taxes.
Revenues, taxes and local support are all vital for the operation of the Hartselle School System. School officials are currently laying the groundwork for a tax increase to pay for a new high school. In the past, one of the questions asked by taxpayers has been the amount the system devotes to administrative and central office costs vs. instructional expenditures.
Hartselle's system currently devotes some 3.8 percent of its total expenditures of $21.7 million on central office and general administration. That's about average for systems across the state. The system spends 69 percent of its revenues on instruction, slightly higher than the state average of 64 percent.
Morgan County's system, larger than Hartselle's by some 3,000 students, spends 2.4 percent of its $69 million on administration. It spends 58 percent on instruction.

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