Friday, March 26, 2010

Taxpayers deserve to know

KTEN reports that the Milburn school district in southeastern Oklahoma is experiencing its worst-ever budget cuts. If the reporter is interested in doing a follow-up story, giving viewers a more complete picture, here are some suggested questions:
  • Milburn is spending $8,094 per pupil. How does that compare to the per-pupil spending in the private schools in southeastern Oklahoma? (My guess is it's roughly double.) 

  • What kind of return are taxpayers getting on this surprisingly large investment? (It appears that student performance in Milburn is below the state average -- and this in a state that's one of the lowest-performing in the nation.)

  • What's the average teacher compensation in the Milburn public schools? How does this compare to the market-determined teacher compensation in the private sector? (My guess is it's nearly double.) Given the student-achievement levels in the district, are these salaries deserved?

  • Milburn's school superintendent oversees 210 students and earns a base salary of $66,580. How does this compare to the market-determined salaries of comparable administrators in the private sector? And given the student-achievement levels in the district, is this salary deserved?

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