Guest Post from Muri Dueppen: More Rankings to Consider

What are appropriate metrics for determining efficiency, effort, cost, and value in regards to public education and commissioner commitment in Carroll County?

Figures fly regarding per pupil spending, student/teacher ratios, salary gaps, millions of dollars allocated, percentages of budgets, money saved, spending avoided, funding cut or increased, raises realized, local burden, etc.

But in the course of contemplating all of this, one question has been bothering me: how can Carroll County Public Schools measure the value of its spending? Is there a way – even if overly simplistic – to find out how our investment of tax dollars relates to outcomes, to the performance of the system?

Our terrific graduation rate stands out as something to celebrate. In addition, I read a couple of things that suggested Cost Per Graduate may be a reasonable metric to look at for small schools or school systems. So, this is what I have found by using the most recent state validated figures (2013-2014) for all counties in Maryland.

Carroll County ranked 23/24.

When performing the calculation just based on Salaries/Wages, the result was the same. Below is a snapshot showing the state average and Carroll along with some relevant counties – either because of proximity or size.

Because of the sacrifice of teachers, this value proposition has been achieved. Clearly that is no longer – and should not be – sustainable. But to what degree is our graduation rate attributable to having smaller community schools? What is the right “new” balance for Carroll County moving forward?


Source for expenditures:…/special_re…/financial.htm
Source for graduates:…/divi…/bus_svcs/fb.htm

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