A largely unchallenged claim in the past week is that the way to fix many of Baltimore’s inner city problems is to spend more on education.
Makes sense until you look at the numbers.
Based on 2010 Census numbers, Baltimore City spent almost $16, 000 per student … more recent analyses peg the number even higher.
That spending level ranks Baltimore City 4th among school districts with at least 40,000 students … more recent data reflecting an infusion of additional Fed funds pushes the ranking up to #2, trailing only NYC.
Let’s put those numbers into context …
Baltimore City’s spending per student is slightly higher than nearby suburbs Montgomery and Howard Counties.
More interesting: the Baltimore City spending is about 25% higher per student than Baltimore County … a separately managed jurisdiction that surrounds Baltimore City.
Let’s look at the numbers in another way …
According to various reports based on public records, the Baltimore City Public Schools had about 10,165 teachers and other staff on the payroll in the 2012-2013 school year — or about 1 for every 8.3 students enrolled in the schools.
How does that breakdown?
In the 2012-2013 school year, according to the Department of Education, Baltimore City schools enrolled 84,747 student and employed 5,380 classroom teachers — a student-to-teacher ratio of 15.75 students per teacher.
That’s not bad.
In addition to the 5,380 classroom teachers, the Baltimore City Public Schools also employed:
- 1,690 “instructional aides,”
- 422 “school administrators,”
- 482 “district administrators,”
- 508 “school administrative support” personnel,
- 628 “student support services” personnel,
- 116 “guidance counselors,”
- 86 “librarians” and “media specialists,”
- 75 “instructional coordinators and supervisors,” and
- 1,150 workers providing “other support services.”
That’s about equal to the number of teachers, and pushes the “adult” to student ration down to about 8.3 to 1.
Back-of the envelop, those 10,165 account for less than half of the school’s budgets, suggesting that that there’s money available for books and and other required tools of the trade.
That is, unless the money is flowing into the pockets of government hacks instead.
Doesn’t look to me like throwing more money at the problem will make much of a difference.