Claim: District 115 taxpayers currently spend nearly $37,000 to educate one student. Stevenson significantly outranks LFHS in the US News ranking but spends about $30,000 to educate one student, or about 27% less than what LFHS spends
FACT: District 115 spends $13,064 per student on instructional costs vs $11,779 for District 125 (Stevenson HS). This is a difference of 10.9%, which is not surprising given that Stevenson's enrollment is more than twice that of LFHS.
When all operating costs are considered, District 115 spends approximately $23,518 per student vs. District 125's $18,662. This is a difference of approximately 20%, which is certainly significant, but is most likely related to economies of scale that a larger district can benefit from.
Please note the following from the Illinois State report card website:
"Instructional Spending Per Pupil includes only the activities directly dealing with the teaching of students or the interaction between teachers and students.
Operating Spending Per Pupil includes all costs for overall operations in this school’s district,including Instructional Spending, but excluding summer school, adult education, capital expenditures, and long-term debt payments."
The $37,000 figure quoted by the Final Four is the addition of the instructional spending per pupil and the operating spending per pupil, which is double-counting the instructional spending, as that amount is already included in the operating spending per pupil. This is inflating both the total amount the Final Four is suggesting the District spends per student and the percent difference vs. District 125.
Furthermore, it is difficult to compare these two schools as the size of the student body is considerably different. District 115 has 1,706 students enrolled, while District 125 has 3,978. District 125 has a significantly larger group of students across which to spread fixed costs, which inherently means there will be differential in per student spending.