The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) last month released the 2019 Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending to help New Jersey residents learn more about the spending practices of school districts across the state.
“The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending provides the public with useful information to understand local school spending trends,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Lamont Repollet. “The guide serves as a springboard for discussion between local residents and school officials on local budget decisions.”
For the 2018-2019 school year, the average budgetary cost per pupil was $16,599. This represents the state average for districts that serve students in preschool through grade 12, charter schools, county vocational school districts, and county special services school districts.
The budgetary cost per pupil calculation excludes costs that aren’t directly comparable from district-to-district, such as transportation, payments on school-construction debt, and tuition for out-of-district programs. The 2018-19 amount is an increase of $790, or 5%, over district’s average actual spending from the prior year.
The guide also compares school districts of similar size and ranks districts in 17 spending categories, such as total administrative costs and total classroom instruction, as well as in staff indicators such as student/teacher ratios and ratios of faculty to administrative staff.
The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending also provides total spending per pupil, which includes the budgetary costs, plus all other district expenditures, including tuition payments for students sent out of district, lunch programs covered by student fees, transportation for public and nonpublic students, and pension payments made by the state on behalf of school districts. The latest available total spending per pupil, which is for the 2017-2018 school year, is $21,866, an increase of $1,015, or 4.9%, from the prior year.
The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending reports can be found online.