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Allegheny Institute


A Back to School Quiz

by Policy Brief
 

(September 6, 2016)--In anticipation of another year of learning and testing for the kids, we thought it might be a bit of fun as well as interesting for grownups to take a quiz on their knowledge of the statistics related to the finances and enrollment of school districts in Allegheny County.

There are other questions that public schools are going to face–the possibility of another budget impasse, what to do about pensions–but this quiz just looks at some key data points.

The ten questions are multiple choice and most are based on Pennsylvania Department of Education's Summary of Annual Financial Reports that provides lots of statistics on all school district operations. The most recent data available is for 2014-15. Answers, along with some additional information, are provided at the end. Don't get discouraged, the questions are a bit tough–do your best.

1. How many school districts are there in Allegheny County?
a. 15
b. 32
c. 43
d. 50

2. What was the total K-12 public school enrollment in Allegheny County?
a. 175,332
b. 148,338
c. 115,000
d. 100,101

3. Compared to K-12 enrollment twenty years ago, how much has enrollment changed?
a. It increased 3 percent
b. It increased 5 percent
c. It decreased 13 percent
d. It did not change


4. The state recently enacted a new formula for distributing state subsidies for basic education. How will this formula affect the dollars school districts receive from the Commonwealth?
a. It will only affect new money that gets appropriated beyond what was spent in 2014-15
b. It will only affect new money that gets appropriated in the 2020-21 school year so districts have time to adjust
c. It will have no effect on most districts
d. It will immediately affect 100 percent of total state subsidies

5. Measured on a per-pupil basis, what is the average amount of state funding for school districts in Allegheny County?
a. $6,157
b. $5,912
c. $1,333
d. $999

6. How has average state funding per-pupil changed from twenty years ago?
a. It increased greater than 100 percent
b. It increased between 99 and 75 percent
c. It increased exactly 50 percent
d. It did not change due to the "hold harmless" provision

7. Measured on a per-pupil basis, what was the average amount of local tax money raised in Allegheny County?
a. $20,000
b. $10,950
c. $9,500
d. $7,113

8. How has local money per-pupil changed from twenty years ago?
a. It increased greater than 100 percent
b. It increased between 99 and 50 percent
c. It increased exactly 25 percent
d. It increased exactly 10 percent

9. On average, how much did school districts spend per-pupil on instruction and support services (this excludes non-instructional costs, facilities, and financing uses) in Allegheny County?
a. $8,357
b. $12,299
c. $15,199
d. $16,536

10. How has per-pupil spending on instruction and support services changed from twenty years ago?
a. It increased greater than 100 percent
b. It increased between 99 and 50 percent
c. It decreased 10 percent
d. It decreased 20 percent

Answers:
1. The correct answer is C. There are 43 school districts in the County. The correct answer is B. Total enrollment, measured by average daily membership (ADM), stood at 148,338. The largest district was Pittsburgh Public Schools with 26,399 students and the smallest was the Cornell School District with 681 students.
3. The correct answer is C. ADM fell 13 percent from 169,999 to 148,338. Five districts–Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, Keystone Oaks, Allegheny Valley, and Riverview–had decreases of 25 percent or more. Three districts–Avonworth, Pine-Richland, and South Fayette–had increases of 25 percent or more.
4. The correct answer is A. The student weighted formula will apply to new basic education funding beyond what was appropriated in the 2014-15 school year ($5 billion) that was distributed under the "hold harmless" method.
5. The correct answer is B. State money per-pupil was $5,912.
6. The correct answer is A. State funding per-pupil increased from $2,715 to $5,912, or 118 percent.
7. The correct answer is B. Average local revenue per-pupil was $10,950.
8. The correct answer is A. Local revenue grew 104 percent, from $5,369 to $10,950. For those looking deep at this quiz, one might notice that the percentage of state-to-local funding in Allegheny County's districts stood at 51 percent in 1995-96 and 54 percent in 2014-15.
9. The correct answer is C. Instruction was $10,056 per-pupil and support services was $5,143 per-pupil for a combined $15,199. The range went from a high of $22,665 in Wilkinsburg to $12,096 in South Fayette.
10. The correct answer is A. Spending increased 105 percent from $7,414 on these two functions.


Eric Montarti, Senior Policy Analyst

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The Allegheny Institute
305 Mt. Lebanon Boulevard
Suite 208
Pittsburgh, PA15234


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