Compare and Contrast

Find out what your New York City school spends per student

PHOTO: Anthony Lanzilote

The New York City education department on Friday released a report detailing per-student funding at every public school across the district, data that shows wide differences in spending.

Though the city projects it will spend an average of $24,200 per student next year, the total can vary by tens of thousands of dollars among schools.

Stuyvesant High School, among the most prestigious schools in the city, has one of the lowest budgets per-student: It is expected to spend more than $17,000 per student in the next year. At tiny P.S. 25 in Brooklyn, a school the city has tried to close as its enrollment has dipped below 100 students, the budget is almost $50,000 per student.

Check out our sortable table below and find your school’s budget. For a comparison tool, click here.

That variation is largely by design. New York City divvies up the bulk of school budgets through a formula called Fair Student Funding. Schools receive extra money for students who are harder to serve, like those who are poor, struggling academically, have a disability, or are learning English. But principals have complained the formula has never lived up to its promise and others argue that it doesn’t make up for the money that some powerhouse parent organizations can raise.

In the latest school budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio added an extra $125 million to bring every school up to at least 90 percent of the funding that they deserve under the formula.

Though much of the data was already available, this was the first time the city was required to issue a public report of its school-level finances, central budget, and other spending data under a new state law.

School funding has become a central issue in New York’s heated Democratic gubernatorial primary. Gov. Andrew Cuomo championed the new law, saying the state has dedicated significant money to education but that more transparency is needed to track whether districts are spending it fairly. (Schools were already going to be required to release the data under federal education law, but the state sped up the timeline for when the reports were due.) Cuomo’s opponent, the actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, has slammed the governor, arguing the state is shortchanging its neediest schools.

You can search for your school and compare it to others using our tool below. A caveat about the per-student spending: The figures here include fringe costs like pension payments, which come from central budgets. Also, many of the schools that spend far above the district average have special education or alternative programs, which are funded differently from traditional schools.

Find your school funding

Search for your school to see how much funding it receives. If a school has no data for the last two columns, it is a school that serves students with special needs or offers alternative programs. Their budgets are allocated through a different method than Fair Student Funding.

Mapping a Turnaround

This is what the State Board of Education hopes to order Adams 14 to do

PHOTO: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post
Javier Abrego, superintendent of Adams 14 School District on April 17, 2018.

In Colorado’s first-ever attempt to give away management of a school district, state officials Thursday provided a preview of what the final order requiring Adams 14 to give up district management could include.

The State Board of Education is expected to approve its final directives to the district later this month.

Thursday, after expressing a lack of trust in district officials who pleaded their case, the state board asked the Attorney General’s office for advice and help in drafting a final order detailing how the district is to cede authority, and in what areas.

Colorado has never ordered an external organization to take over full management of an entire district.

Among details discussed Thursday, Adams 14 will be required to hire an external manager for at least four years. The district will have 90 days to finalize a contract with an external manager. If it doesn’t, or if the contract doesn’t meet the state’s guidelines, the state may pull the district’s accreditation, which would trigger dissolution of Adams 14.

State board chair Angelika Schroeder said no one wants to have to resort to that measure.

But districts should know, the state board does have “a few more tools in our toolbox,” she said.

In addition, if they get legal clearance, state board members would like to explicitly require the district:

  • To give up hiring and firing authority, at least for at-will employees who are administrators, but not teachers, to the external manager.
    When State Board member Steve Durham questioned the Adams 14 school board President Connie Quintana about this point on Wednesday, she made it clear she was not interested in giving up this authority.
  • To give up instructional, curricular, and teacher training decisions to the external manager.
  • To allow the new external manager to decide if there is value in continuing the existing work with nonprofit Beyond Textbooks.
    District officials have proposed they continue this work and are expanding Beyond Textbooks resources to more schools this year. The state review panel also suggested keeping the Beyond Textbooks partnership, mostly to give teachers continuity instead of switching strategies again.
  • To require Adams 14 to seek an outside manager that uses research-based strategies and has experience working in that role and with similar students.
  • To task the external manager with helping the district improve community engagement.
  • To be more open about their progress.
    The state board wants to be able to keep track of how things are going. State board member Rebecca McClellan said she would like the state board and the department’s progress monitor to be able to do unannounced site visits. Board member Jane Goff asked for brief weekly reports.
  • To allow the external manager to decide if the high school requires additional management or other support.
  • To allow state education officials, and/or the state board, to review the final contract between the district and its selected manager, to review for compliance with the final order.

Facing the potential for losing near total control over his district, Superintendent Javier Abrego Thursday afternoon thanked the state board for “honoring our request.”

The district had accepted the recommendation of external management and brought forward its own proposal — but with the district retaining more authority.

Asked about the ways in which the state board went above and beyond the district’s proposal, such as giving the outside manager the authority to hire and fire administrative staff, Abrego did not seem concerned.

“That has not been determined yet,” he said. “That will all be negotiated.”

The state board asked that the final order include clear instructions about next steps if the district failed to comply with the state’s order.

Changing fortune

Late votes deliver a narrow win for Jeffco school bond measure

PHOTO: Denver Post file
Fourth-graders Kintan Surghani, left, and Rachel Anderson laugh out the school bus window at Mitchell Elementary School in Golden.

Voters in Jefferson County narrowly approved a $567 million bond request that will allow the school district to improve its buildings.

Jeffco Measure 5B, the bond request, initially appeared to have failed, even as voters supported Measure 5A, a $33 million mill levy override, a type of local property tax increase, by a comfortable margin. But as late votes continued to be counted between Election Day and today, the gap narrowed — and then the tally flipped.

With all ballots counted — including overseas and military ballots and ballots from voters who had to resolve signature problems — the bond measure had 50.3 percent of the vote and a comfortable 1,500 vote margin.

In 2016, Jeffco voters turned down both a mill levy override and a bond request. Current Superintendent Jason Glass, who was hired after the ballot failure, made efforts in the last year to engage community members who don’t have children in the district on the importance of school funding. This year’s bond request was even larger than the $535 million ask that voters rejected two years ago.

“We are incredibly thankful to our voters and the entire Jeffco community for supporting our schools,” Glass said in a statement. “The 5A and 5B funding will dramatically impact the learning environment for all of our students. Starting this year, we will be able to better serve our students, who in turn will better serve our communities and the world.”

The money will be used to add new classrooms and equip them, improve security at school buildings, and add career and technical education facilities.