On Thursday, November 1, senior education policy analyst Ben DeGrow talked with Denver 9News education reporter Nelson Garcia about the disputed use of figures to account for Colorado school funding. (Click either picture to access the original story.)
“Colorado actually ranks closer to the middle than to the bottom,” DeGrow said. “You’ll see Colorado ranked even as high as 29th.”
DeGrow says the real per pupil funding total is much higher than $6,474.
“Federal dollars, it comes from additional local tax dollars and even other state programs that fund education,” DeGrow said. “When you look at it, it’s actually closer to $10,000 per student.”
The 29th ranking comes from Table H-9, page 54, of the National Education Association’s latest Rankings & Estimates publication.
The most recent complete picture of tax revenues for K-12 education is reported by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) for the 2010-11 school year — in which K-12 education agencies received $8.292 billion in combined tax revenue. Based on the generous October 2010 student count of 843,316, the per-pupil amount is $9,833 (much “closer to $10,000 per student”).
The $6,474 “Per Pupil Revenue” figure cited in the story includes only a partial picture of tax revenues that Colorado K-12 schools receive. It is equivalent to counting only the primary breadwinner’s earnings as household income, even though about half as much more money comes in through a side job, home business and investment earnings. In the case of public schools, all $8.292 billion are raised through taxes, and all are available for officials to spend. Therefore, all dollars should be counted.