Amherst Regional High School
Last Spring with almost no discussion Amherst Town Meeting approved an elementary school budget of $21,490,563 and a Regional School Budget (grades 7-12) of $29,618,478.
Just those two budget items alone swallowed up 52% of total town spending, and are a major contributor to Amherst's crushingly high property tax rates.
The Regional School budget was also approved by Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury, our partner towns in the joint educational enterprise grades 7-12. Although Amherst makes up 88% of the Region.
The Amherst Pelham Regional School Committee recently heard an enrollment update as of October 1st. For the Region, 1,472 students. Now divide that into the total operation budget and it works out to $20,121 average cost per student for this fiscal year FY15 (ends this coming June 30).
State average is around $14,000. Now multiply that extra $6,000 or so we spend per student times 1,476 students: an additional $8,868,000.
For the elementary school the figure is either $17,760 cost per student IF you include Kindergarten (1,210 total) or $18,770 per student if you do not (1,145 total). State average is around $14,000.
And those exceedingly high average costs figures are only going to escalate as our population growth stagnates, and Charter and Vocational schools continue stealing away students at an alarming rate.
If an ARPS student attends the Chinese Charter School in Hadley that costs the sending district their average cost per student, or $20,121 (once the state officially certifies that 2014 figure); but if a Hadley student comes to ARPS via School Choice, that brings with him/her only $5,000.
75 students leaving ARPS, taking with them $20K in funding per student
Almost 90% of the school budget goes towards payroll. For most taxpayers the first thing that comes to mind regarding "schools" is "teachers".
Interestingly the average teacher salary at ARPS, according to the state DOE website, is $75,452 -- not much over state average, which Boston Business Journal reports to be around $69,000.
It's even a closer match if you use HR Director Kathy Mazur's average salary figure of $70,557 for the Region. Although the Region does have a lower student/teacher ratio than state average: 11.7 to 1 vs state average of 13.6 to 1.
So where does all the money go that leads to such a high average cost per student? Surely not the paraprofessionals, janitors or lunch ladies.
ARPS 2012 average cost per student of $18,026 vs state average of $13,636 note higher cost of "administration"
The Amherst Regional Public Schools (1,478 students 7-12) have a bevy of administrators in the $100K club:
Maria Geryk $159,150
Mark Jackson $135,803
Faye Brady $121,147
Marta Guevara $116,821
Mike Morris $115,879
Maria Mendonsa $110,000
Miki Gromacki $106,578
Joanne Smith $106,336
Ron Bohonowicz $104,487
Kathy Mazur $100,767
Michael Malone $100,290
Northampton, with similar student enrollments (1,335 students 7-12), has only two administrators making over $100,000: Superintendent John Provost and Director of Student Services Laurie Farkas.