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Superintendent: New Student Spending Math Double-Edged

State's formula more realistic, but makes district comparisons less reliable.

Hopatcong school Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano said the state's new formula for describing how much schools spend to educate students might be a more realistic than in the past. But it also might be less useful.

"It's a better look at district spending," he said Thursday afternoon of the per-pupil spending formula used in the latest Taxpayers Guide to Education Spending, released just before a key court ruling on school funding. "But a less reliable look at district comparisons."

The formula now includes transportation, pensions, legal judgments, debt services, out-of-district tuitions and more. The result: the appearance, at least at first blush, of much higher per-pupil costs.

Under the old math, Hopatcong spent per pupil $13,561 in 2009-2010. But the new formula says Hopatcong spent $17,051 that same year.

Maranzano said he didn't have an issue with the state adding to the formula.

"Maybe the numbers represent more realistically what our total costs are when you do factor in all of the variables," he said. "I'm all for the transparency. Let people understand what it costs."

But he said some districts offer different services than others, and other costs change.

"On the other hand, it diminishes the value of comparing this district to [another district], with similar sizes and populations," he said. "The more variable in the mix, the more availability. But the less reliability. That really is the answer."

Maranzano pointed to legal costs as a line item that could change from year to year, making comparing similarly-sized districts difficult.

"In a year where you're negotiating [union contracts] you have high legal cost," he said. "When you're not negotiating, you have low legal costs."

For more on the new formula, see Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending at NJSpotlight.org.

Here's the full breakdown of Hopatcong's spending, under the new report:

District: HOPATCONG
Operating Type K-12 / 1801 - 3500 Pupils
County: SUSSEX
 
Total Spending Per Pupil (Definition)
2008-09 Total Spending: $37,503,353
2008-09 Average Daily Enroll plus Sent Pupils: 2,313.9
2008-09 Costs Amount per Pupil: $16,208
2008-09 Costs Rank Within Group per Pupil: 35
2009-10 Total Spending: $38,057,972
2009-10 Average Daily Enroll plus Sent Pupils: 2,232
2009-10 Costs Amount per Pupil: $17,051
2009-10 Costs Rank Within Group per Pupil: 34 Summary of Vital Statistics (Definition)
2009-10 Total Spending Per Pupil: $17,051
Revenue Sources, State: 38%
Revenue Sources, Local Taxes: 56%
Revenue Sources, Federal: 6%
Revenue Sources, Tuition: 0%
Revenue Sources, Use of Fund Balance: 0%
Revenue Sources, Other: 0%
Fall 2009 Certified Staff:
  Student/Teacher Ratio: 12.5
  Student/Support Ratio: 61.0
  Student/Administrator Ratio: 146.4
10/15/09 % of Classified Students to Total Students: 19.6% Budgetary Per Pupil Cost (Definition)
2008-09 Actual Costs Amount per Pupil: $12,985
2008-09 Actual Costs Rank Within Group per Pupil: 51
2009-10 Actual Costs Amount per Pupil: $13,561
2009-10 Actual Costs Rank Within Group per Pupil: 50
2010-11 Budgeted Costs Amount Per Pupil: $12,865
2010-11 Budgeted Costs Rank Within Group Per Pupil: 35 Total Classroom Instruction (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $7,346
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 36
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 56.6%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $7,869
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 45
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 58%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $7,517
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 34
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 58.4% Classroom Salaries and Benefits (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $7,061
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 38
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 54.4%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Classroom Salaries and Benefits (2008-09): 96.1%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $7,594
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 51
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 56%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Classroom Salaries and Benefits (2009-10): 96.5%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $7,194
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 32
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 55.9%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Classroom Salaries and Benefits (2010-11): 95.7% Classroom Supplies/Textbooks (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $251
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 25
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 1.9%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $244
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 27
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 1.8%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $264
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 51
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 2.1% Classroom Purchased Services/Other Costs (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $34
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 9
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 0.3%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $32
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 9
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 0.2%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $59
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 14
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 0.5% Total Support Services (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $1,999
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 51
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 15.4%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $2,112
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 49
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 15.6%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $1,960
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 45
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 15.2% Salaries and Benefits for Support Services (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $1,904
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 56
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 14.7%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Support Services Salaries and Benefits (2008-09): 95.2%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $2,034
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 59
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 15%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Support Services Salaries and Benefits (2009-10): 96.3%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $1,887
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 52
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 14.7%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Support Services Salaries and Benefits (2010-11): 96.3% Total Administration (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $1,513
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 49
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 11.7%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $1,530
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 46
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 11.3%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $1,503
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 38
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 11.7% Legal Services (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $0
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 0
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 0%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $16
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 17
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 0.1%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $22
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 21
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 0.2% Administration Salaries and Benefits (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $1,344
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 62
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 10.4%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Salaries and Benefits for Administration (2008-09): 88.8%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $1,348
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 55
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 9.9%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Salaries and Benfits for Administration (2009-10): 88.1%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $1,289
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 45
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 10%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Salaries and Benefits for Administration (2010-11): 85.8% Total Operations and Maintenance of Plant (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $1,743
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 55
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 13.4%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $1,640
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 46
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 12.1%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $1,641
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 45
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 12.8% Salaries and Benefits for Operations and Maintenance of Plant (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $758
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 35
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 5.8%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Salaries and Benefits - Operations of Maintenance of Plant (2008-09): 43.5%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $813
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 35
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 6%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Salaries and Benefits - Operations of Maintenance of Plant(2009-10): 49.6%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $759
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 35
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 5.9%
% of Total Salaries and Benefits to Salaries and Benefits - Operations of Maintenance of Plant (2010-11): 46.3% Board Contributions to the Food Service Program (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $0
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 0
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 0%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $0
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 0
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 0%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $0
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 0
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 0% Extracurricular Costs (Definition)
Per Pupil Amount (2008-09 actual costs): $224
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2008-09 actual costs): 7
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2008-09): 1.7%
Per Pupil Amount (2009-10 actual costs): $231
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2009-10 actual costs): 7
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2009-10): 1.7%
Per Pupil Amount (2010-11 budget): $222
Per Pupil Ranking Within Group (2010-11 budget): 6
% of Budgetary Cost Per Pupil (2010-11): 1.7% Personal Services - Employee Benefits (Definition)
% of Total Salaries (2008-09): 24.8%
% of Total Salaries (2009-10): 27.7%
% of Total Salaries (2010-11): 35.1% Total Equipment Cost (Definition)
Per Pupil Costs (2008-09): $182
Per Pupil Costs (2009-10): $140
Per Pupil Costs (2010-11): $0 Ratio of Students to Classroom Teachers and Median Classroom Teacher Salary (Definition)
Student to Teacher Ratio (2009-10): 12.5
Ratio Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 32
Teacher Salary (2009-10): $71,390
Salary Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 65
Student to Teacher Ratio (2010-11): 13.9
Ratio Ranking Within Group (2010-11): 18
Teacher Salary (2010-11): $77,500
Salary Ranking Within Group (2010-11): 67 Ratio of Students to Educational Support Personnel and Median Salary (Definition)
Student to Support Service Ratio (2009-10): 61.0
Ratio Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 62
Support Service Salary (2009-10): $79,785
Salary Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 55
Student to Support Service Ratio (2010-11): 64.1
Ratio Ranking Within Group (2010-11): 60
Support Service Salary (2010-11): $83,150
Salary Ranking (2010-11): 60 Ratio of Students to Administrative Personnel and Median Salary (Definition)
Student to Administrator Ratio (2009-10): 146.4
Ratio Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 41
Administrator Salary (2009-10): $123,805
Salary Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 46
Student to Administrator Ratio (2010-11): 140.9
Ratio Ranking Within Group (2010-11): 55
Administrator Salary (2010-11): $120,621
Salary Ranking Within Group (2010-11): 40 Ratio of Faculty to Administrative Personnel (Definition)
Faculty to Administrator Ratio (2009-10): 14.1
Faculty to Administrator Ranking Within Group (2009-10): 38
Faculty to Administrator Ratio (2010-11): 12.4
Faculty to Administrator Ranking Within Group (2010-11): 57 Comparison of Budgeted General Fund Balance vs. Actual (Used) or Generated (Definition)
General Fund Balance (2008-09): $1,074,338
2008-09 Actual: $-56,569
General Fund Balance (2009-10): $1,017,769
2009-10 Actual: $267,542 General Fund Excess Surplus (Definition)
Actual Excess (2008-09): $0
Actual Excess (2009-10): $0
Roll Back Our Tax May 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Hopatcong has the 3rd HIGHEST cost to educate a student in Sussex county behind Vernon and Sparta and one of the worst school districts as it relates to math and language literacy skills. http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc09/dataselect.php?datasection%5B2%5D=performance&c=37&d=2240&s=030&lt=H&st=A Don't even come close to the district or state averages plus the enrollment in Hopatcong fell by 883 students under the age of 18 since 2000. We vote down tax increases and our taxes go up anyways 5 - 6% every year. Where's this money going? Almost all the $ is going to increases in salaries, increases in servicing the debt, increases in medical insurance and increases in pension costs. About the ONLY cost that is missing from this equation that circumvents Christie's 2% cap is a STATEWIDE disaster. http://www.empirecenter.org/Special-Reports/2011/03/case4acap030111.cfm •increases in debt service and capital expenditures; •weather and other “declared” emergencies; •pension contributions in excess of two percent, and •health benefit cost increases in excess of 2 percent.46 Then they want the taxpayers to throw more money at this problem. What problem? The problem is the above. Maybe next time Maranzano won't question my figures as it relates to costs. They're now in the equation.
Michele Guttenberger May 27, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Hopatcong OLD formula PER PUPIL = $13,561 in 2009-2010. NEW formula says Hopatcong REALLY spent $17,051 that same year. Would it not be cheaper to send each Hopatcong Student to a less costly Higher Rated PRIVATE School? Apparently it is the whole town that is failing in math.
Michele Guttenberger May 27, 2011 at 11:10 PM
"The more variable in the mix, the more availability. But the less reliability. That really is the answer." Can someone interpret this? I don't have a doctorate in abstract linguistics.

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