$8,382 for a year of school
By Kathryn Purcell
What is the cost of public education?
In Morgan County, the answer to that question is $8,382.33, or the average total expenditure per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student, according to the Expenditure Report for Fiscal Year 2007 recently published by the Georgia Department of Education.
Compare that to the state average of $8,428.05 and the Northeast Georgia RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) average of $8,592.77.
"On average, Morgan County spends less than the state average, less than the RESA average per student," Morgan County Superintendent Stan DeJarnett said, in presenting the information to the Board of Education at their meeting Monday night. "And there is a significant range in our RESA."
Of the counties surrounding Morgan County, Greene, Walton and Oconee counties are also in the Northeast Georgia RESA. According to the report, published on the Georgia Department of Education's Web site, Greene County spent significantly more than Morgan County per FTE, $10,321.69, while Walton County came close to Morgan's total, spending $8,538.03. Oconee County spent almost $300 less per FTE than Morgan County, with a total of $8,094.84.
Of the other counties surrounding Morgan County, but not in the same RESA, Putnam County spent $9,695.99 per FTE; Jasper County, $8,400; and Newton County, $7,855.17.
Morgan County falls fairly square in the middle in regards to the average cost per FTE, with Greene, Putnam, Walton and Jasper counties spending more and Oconee and Newton counties spending less.
Further, Morgan County spends more per FTE on Instruction than the state and RESA averages, boasting $6,293.93 or more than 75 percent of the Total Expenditure per FTE, compared to the state average of more than 68 percent and the RESA average of more than 67 percent, according to information provided at the Board of Education meeting.
"Seventy-five percent of every dollar goes into the classroom," DeJarnett said. "And that's not a one-year phenomenon for Morgan County. Traditionally, Morgan County spends more than the state and RESA in the classroom."
The county also spent less per FTE on Central Administration, almost three percent, than the state and RESA averages of 4.6 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.
In regards to School Administration, Morgan County, at 6.2 percent, spent the same on average as the state, also 6.2 percent, and RESA, 6.3 percent.
"It does certainly show we're trying to be as good stewards of taxpayer money as we can be," Board of Education Chairman Nelson Hale said, after hearing the results of the report. "We're spending less than the state average per student and more on classroom instruction."
To view the Fiscal Year 2007 Expenditure Report for all of Georgia's school systems, visit the Georgia Department of Education's Web site at app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.entry_form.