To the editor:
Once again Russ Tarby tries to convince the Liverpool school district taxpayers that they are paying too much in school taxes (May 23, Star-Review). The rational that he uses is that “across the county, annual school expenditures per student is approximately $13,000.”
The problem with using national averages is that they do not take into account the cost of living, class sizes, student demographics and taxpayer willingness to fund a quality educational program. Some states have purposely kept their per pupil expenditures low by underpaying their staff, not purchasing supplies or textbooks, letting their buildings deteriorate and shortening the school week to four days.
Taxpayers in Liverpool have repeatedly rejected the notion of shrinking their school district funding because they realize that, generally speaking, “you get what you pay for.” How good can the quality of education be in Utah be where they only spend $6,900 per student, or in Idaho where they only spend $7,200 per student?
In New York state the average per pupil expenditure for 2017-18 is $22,593, which is above the Liverpool expenditure of $21,707. Liverpool is actually below the NYS average cost per student.
Putting this into perspective, the lowest cost per student spending in NYS is in the General Brown School District in Jefferson County ($14,896 per child) and the highest cost per student is the Kiryas Joel Village District in Orange County (where they spend whopping $140,511 on every student every year)! If you had your choice between those two districts, where would you send your child – to General Brown or Kirys Joel?
This discussion regarding the cost of educating our children reminds me of the Robert Orben quote, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”