Per Capita Education Spending: How Does Somerville Compare?
Somerville has lowest per capita spending on education out of the 25 cities and towns used in the comparison. Note that per capita spending is not the same as per pupil spending.
In the recent budget process, Somerville put an emphasis on school spending.
But how much does Somerville spend on education for each person in town—in financial terms, its per capita education spending?
The Pioneer Institute, a Massachusetts public policy research organization, recently released a spreadsheet tool to accompany its new handbook, "Guide to Sound Fiscal Management for Municipalities." The spreadsheet tool allows anyone to compare how much a city or town spends on various services, and how much the city or town spends per capita.
Patch used the tool to compare 25 cities and towns in the Somerville area on per capita education spending, with the Pioneer Institute using figures from fiscal years 2009 through 2011 obtained from the state Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services.
Somerville had the lowest per capita spending on education out of the 25 cities and towns used in the comparison.
Note that per capita education spending is not the same as per pupil education spending. The former counts every person in town, while the latter only counts students in the school system.
Do these figures seem right to you? Is there a reason why Somerville's per capita education spending would be lower than these other communities? You can review the figures in the table below, and tell us what you think of the results in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
You can also download the Pioneer Institute's spreadsheet tool yourself and create your own comparisons.
Per Capita Education Spending By City/Town
The data below were obtained from the Mass DOR Division of Local Services General Fund Expenditure Worksheets. The spending figures presented below are based on the general funds spent by a municipality on education. General funds cover only a portion of a pupil's education cost, according to the Pioneer Institute, and that portion varies widely among the state's cities and towns. Cities and towns are listed in alphabetical order.