I enjoy reading the Brookline Beacon for keeping up-to-date on happenings in Town. A recent entry talks about the next 40B project in Town at 21 Crowninshield Rd. I don’t have a dog in the fight other then hoping folks will be good stewards of Brookline. Topic of this article – stewardship. Or rather, lack of it.
The threat of this development is propelling neighbors to push for a Local Historic District. There is Article 11 “Proposed Article to Establish a Crowninshield Local Historic District” on the 2015 Brookline Town Meeting warrant.
The only thing I’ll add is a comparison of the before and after. Because that kind of thing is pretty easy to do now. And particularly striking in this case.
Are We Spending More or Less on Kids?
It’s stated frequently, the statistical factoid (statoid? statisticoid? hmmm.) that per-pupil spending in Brookline Schools has fallen during the enrollment boom, i.e. between 2006 and now. We’ve added kids, so of course, we are spending less on each kid. We’ve cut to the bone. We’re already underfunding our schools. Only the maximum extent possible override (MEPO) will retain your property value or keep our schools excellent.
And looking at the data, yes, we’re spending less. But on what?
- Less on interest payments for building the New Lincoln School in 1990 (Brookline’s first override ever after prop 2 1/2) and renovating the High School in 1995 (Brookline’s second override ever).
- Less on health care because Brookline joined the GIC, saving us a bunch.
- Less on out-of-district special education placements by providing equivalent services at less cost in-district.
But not less on School Budgets or teachers or kids. The Brookline School Budgets keeps going up. In fact, we’ll see that from 2006 to 2014:
- Enrollment in Brookline Public Schools went up 21% from 6014 to 7288 kids;
- The Brookline School Budget increased 41.7%, from $60M to $85M;
- The Brookline School Budget increased 4.48% per year on average.
- Per-pupil the School Budget is doing just fine, too, thank you very much, having increased 17%, from $10,046 to $11,751;
- Yes, even inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending is just around 0% (-0.67%) over the last 8 years.
I guess we do love our kids here in Brookline.
Let’s dig into the data.