EDUCATIONAL SPENDING A MAZE OF MONEY AND MYTH

What is the cost to a taxpayer for a high school diploma?  Does your child receive a first rate quality education for the dollar invested or are taxpayers tossing good money after bad?

This week across the State of Connecticut high school seniors will be graduating from public schools and parents will smile with pride as their sons and daughters receive their diplomas.  Students will move on, some to further education and some to full time employment with the burden of taxation upon their soft shoulders, new taxpayers contributing dollars for the students to follow.

If your child graduates from Coventry High School the cost to the taxpayers for that diploma is $110,380.  Is that a good investment?  Is it enough to provide a good education or is some of that money wasted?  Now, those are not easy questions and the answers are subject to some debate but there are some facts to provide food for thought.

So how do you think Coventry measures up against towns like Simsbury, Tolland, New Fairfield, Wolcott or Glastonbury?  All of those Towns enjoy an excellent reputation with Tolland recently named the 27th best small town in the country to live in
Does Coventry have a problem?  Has Coventry committed to provide our students with the resources necessary to compete with students from those towns? Here are some actual facts on the cost per diploma in each town:

Town                                                Cost Per Diploma

Tolland                                                 $107,552

Wolcott                                                $109,981

New Fairfield                                     $110,309

Coventry                                             $110,380

Glastonbury                                      $112,613

Simsbury                                            $114,933

The spending differential between Coventry and Simsbury based on the cost per diploma is $350 more per year per diploma.  The differential between Coventry and Tolland is $217 less per year per diploma.

Will more money give better results? Take a look at these numbers and judge for yourself:

Vernon                                                 $137,087

Stafford                                                $138,337

Bloomfield                                          $162,749

Hartford           `                                 $199,212

Now of course there is more to the story because money by itself does not produce better results in education.  Student retention and performance are another area to examine so let’s take a look at graduation rates;

Tolland                         99.5

Wolcott                        91.7

New Fairfield             99.1

Coventry                     96.4

Glastonbury               98.8

Simsbury                     98.1

Vernon                         90.6

Stafford                        88.7

Bloomfield                  87.7

Hartford                       79.2

Coventry it seems could do a better job on their graduation rate.  In years gone by the drop out rate for Coventry was decreased substantially by not counting students that dropped out and then chose to attend adult education now being paid for with local tax dollars.  It seems a good goal for Coventry would be to increase the graduation rate and thereby better serve all students and the community.

It may not require more money but it may require a better focus on the productive success of each student.  Paying higher prices for delivery of the same level of education is not the answer that would be same as repeating a mistake and expecting a different result.

Before we ever vote to raise taxes on blind faith and expectations every citizen should know what they can expect for the higher cost.  Staying informed is the responsibility and role of every good citizen.

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