Last week, a legislative watchdog committee released a report looking at just that subject. The Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review looked at 14 districts, including seven that spend less per student than the state average but get higher test scores, and seven that spend more per student and get lower-than-average test scores.
Of the 14 districts sampled, those rated as A or B spent an average of $6,672 per student for what PEER called “educational service delivery,” while the districts rated as C, D, or F spent $9,539 per student on average.
Some of the high-rated districts are large by Mississippi standards, including DeSoto and Rankin counties, allowing them to harness efficiencies of scale. But PEER also looked at A-rated Enterprise in Clarke County, with 1,000 students.
Those looking for an efficiency silver bullet will be disappointed, though. The committee found management strategies varied widely across the districts, and that even efficient districts do a poor job of documenting how they save money.