What does it cost taxpayers in North Carolina’s largest school districts (i.e, LEAs) to educate a child for 13 years and graduate with a high school diploma? That’s the question I sought to answer in a recent report just released by the Civitas Institute. I think you’ll find the results interesting. Among the ten largest LEAs the median cost to taxpayers was $122,478. Over thirteen years, that’s approximately $9,400 a year; a cost comparable to the price tag of a private school education in many places.
How did we come up with the number? The analysis pulled together 13 years (K-12) of per student state, county and federal expenditures. Costs were then adjusted for inflation. Data included operating expenses only and did not include capital costs, debt service, equipment purchases, transportation and community service programs. District graduation rates were also included to reflect the cost of dropouts. An analysis of all North Carolina LEAs will be released soon.