by David Safier
Friend of the blog Matthew Ladner has told us here at BfA that we should stop resisting and give in to the clear and obvious truth that Arizona spends $9,500 per student. It's simple. Just take every dollar spent in the name of K-12 education, divide it by the number of students, and up pops the magic number.
Lots of foolish progressives and liberals (I'll let you decide if there's a difference) have begged to differ in comments on the blog. But you know what fools these pro/libs be.
Now, we have an unexpected ally: Tom Horne. I've written earlier that he acknowledges Arizona is 49th in per pupil spending, but now he's gone further.
The Republic published a Q&A about Arizona's educational funding. Here's the Ladner-Horne disagreement:
Horne disagreed, saying that per pupil expenditures should calculate only money spent teachers and programs in the classroom.
"Construction cost is a result of the fact that we're a growing state," Horne said. "And that's a product of growth. It's not an effort that we're making in education."
Horne notes "that we're a growing state." It's true. We're second only to Nevada in our population growth in recent years. So when we gain students, we need to build schools to house them, which is separate from the real cost of educating those students. In states where the population is stable or shrinking, they don't have those added costs. So, Horne is saying, when we compare what it costs to educate students, we should figure the cost of salaries, materials, etc., the things that have a direct impact on the what it costs to educate students, not to house them.
Ladner has said before that G.I. and Horne don't always see eye to eye, but this is a real poke in the eye from the Ed Supe. And, every Democratic legislator and candidate should note, it's a poke in the eye of Republicans who trumpet the G.I. figure. In every forum that someone like Cap'n Al Melvin uses the $9,500 figure, as he did Friday, he should be told, "I see you disagree with Tom Horne, Republican State Superintendent of Education, who says you shouldn't include construction costs in the per student spending figure and accept the truth that we're 49th in the nation in per pupil spending."
NOTE: The Republic uses $8,528 as the G.I. figure instead of $9,500. That must have chapped a few Institute hides.