An internal report in the Katonah-Lewisboro school district found that the district spends more money on its students than districts with similar demographics, in part due to high teacher salaries, The Journal News’ Rob Ryser reports.
The per-pupil cost in Katonah-Lewisboro was $28,000 in the 2010-11 school year, compared to $26,700 in Scarsdale, $25,800 in Chappaqua and $25,600 in Bedford. Katonah-Lewisboro’s teacher salaries were $110 million, second only to $123 million in Scarsdale in 2010-11. The other school districts the report evaluated were Byram Hills and Harrison.
Katonah-Lewisboro residents are less wealthy than families in districts like Chappaqua and Scarsdale, the report found.
An average Katonah-Lewisboro family paid $52 for every $1,000 of income, compared to $33 per $1,000 of income in Chappaqua and $23 for Scarsdale, the report said. Katonah-Lewisboro had a lower average price of real estate and percentage of average growth in home sale prices than the other districts evaluated.
A committee of residents, school board and district officials did the report. The board will seek reactions from across the district— through mailings, surveys, polls and public forums—to help set its priorities for the 2012-13 school year.
A teachers union representative said high litigation costs also have driven up spending.
School Board President Mark Lipton said people shouldn’t automatically presume it’s a bad thing that Katonah-Lewisboro children have the most expensive education.
“The Katonah-Lewisboro school district is an excellent place for teachers and administration and support staff to work, and the community has always shown a willingness to support its teachers,” he said. “We need to be sure the schools reflect the experience that the community wants the students to have.”