Commentary on K-12 Tax, spending and Outcomes: Kansas City and Madison

2018 – Kansas City Star Editorial:

Taylor was blunt in linking educational attainment with dollars spent.

“The analysis finds a strong, positive relationship between educational outcomes and educational costs,” Taylor concluded. She also said a 1 percentage point increase in graduation rates is associated with a 1.2 percent increase in costs in lower grades and a 1.9 percent increase in costs at the high school level.

That amounts to a breathtaking repudiation of the long-standing conservative argument that there’s no link between outcomes and spending.

“It’s a validation of what I have been working on with a lot of colleagues and advocates and parents for many years.” said state Rep. Melissa Rooker, a moderate Republican from Fairway who has worked for years to boost school funding.

1998: Money and school Performance, Paul Ciotti:

For decades critics of the public schools have been saying, “You can’t solve educational problems by throwing money at them.” The education establishment and its support-
ers have replied, “No one’s ever tried.” In Kansas City they
did try. To improve the education of black students and
encourage desegregation, a federal judge invited the Kansas
City, Missouri, School District to come up with a cost-is-no-
object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers
to find the money to pay for it.

Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil–more
money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any
other of the 280 largest districts in the country. The money
bought higher teachers’ salaries, 15 new schools, and such
amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwa-
ter viewing room, television and animation studios, a robot-
ics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United
Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field
trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was
12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the

The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the
black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not
greater, integration.

More, here.

Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported school districts, now nearly $20,000 per student.

Yet, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.