One surprising finding in the school-level spending numbers was that spending is actually higher in schools with higher levels of poverty, generally speaking, even after federal dollars—which are typically higher at schools with more students in poverty—are removed.
“You can’t draw many conclusions,” said Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey directly from the spending data. While some want to look for correlations between high amounts of spending and high student outcomes, he said, it’s just not that easy.
In Alabama, the average amount spent per student was $9,425, but spending ranged from $726 per student in Limestone County’s Virtual School Center to $131,305 per student at Shelby County’s Linda Nolen Learning Center, which served 49 students with unique emotional, academic and medical needs.
When federal dollars are removed from the mix, the average amount drops to $7,787 statewide, and spending at the school level ranges from $637 per student at Decatur High’s Developmental school to $116,240 at Tuscaloosa City School’s Oak Hill School. Both of those schools serve students with special needs.
Madison taxpayers spend between $18.5k to 20K per student, depending on the District documents reviewed.
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