Township schools spend close to state average per student

By MELISSA DIPENTO

For the 2009–2010 school year, the Lenape Regional High School District spent $14,456 per student, just above the state average of $14,354, according to the 2010 New Jersey Department of Education School Report Card released Tuesday.

The components that make up the cost per pupil include faculty and administration salaries, classroom instructional costs and support services, among other items.

James Hager, School Business Administrator for the LRHSD said the district stayed reasonably close to the state average.

In 2010, District administrators averaged a salary of $129,812, compared to the state average of $119,066.

District faculty salaries averaged $64,605, while statewide, faculty averaged a $66,220 salary.

Hager said even though district salaries are slightly higher than state averages, the district is consistently ranked as having fewer faculty and administration.

“Our salaries might be slightly higher that the state average, but we have less faculty and administration.”

Hager said a separate document, issued annually by the NJDOE called the Comparative Spending Guide, addresses the balance between spending and the number of staff.

In the 2008–2009 school year, Hager said, there were 186 students for every administrator.

“That’s the lowest in the state,” he said.

The CSG’s Student/Administrator Ratio shows the District as having the highest rank in the state for the 2008–2009 school year and the second highest rank for the 2009–2010 school year. Schools with lower state rankings have more administrators per student.

The CSG also indicates a Faculty/Administrator Ratio. In 2009, the district ranked first in the state, with 17.4 faculty members per administrator. In 2010, the district ranked second, with 17.6 faculty members per administrator.

The state average for 2010 was 11.7 faculty members per administrator.

“Our administrators make a little more money, but we have a lot less of them,” Hager added.

The eight elementary and middle schools in the Mt. Laurel School District spent $12,125 per student in 2010, just under the state average of $12,681.

Superintendent Dr. Antoinette Rath said the district came in at 4.4 percent below the state cost figures.

“We’re an effective running district that is respectful to taxpayers and we certainly achieve results,” Rath said.

To view the State Report Cards, visit http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/index.html.

To view the March 2010 Comparative Spending Guide, visit http://www.state.nj.us/education/guide/2010/7-12–9-12.pdf.