LEA School Finance Comparison Study – Roanoke Rapids Graded School District Lauren Greenhill NELA Cohort II School

Budget and Finance Dr. Arrington October 6th, 2012


Lauren Greenhill LEA School Finance Comparison Study – RRGSD

Overview: Comparing the budgets of the two elementary schools—Belmont and Manning—in Roanoke Rapids Graded School District (RRGSD) was certainly an enlightening and informative experience. The observations made fall into two primary categories. First, there are larger, overarching trends that I noticed (which, from readings and class sessions, seem to apply to school budgets across our state). The second category—and the focus for this paper—is made up of observations surrounding how money is allotted within and between the two schools, as well as my thoughts as to why that might be the case after talking with school personnel and ―historians‖ within the district. These reflections are listed below, and on p.3, you will find graphs that visually represent some of what I found to be the most interesting areas of comparison. As you will see in each of the areas below, Belmont’s and Manning’s budgets largely reflect differences in population—both student population and overall population—and size. At my internship site, Belmont, we house just over 800 students, while Manning’s population is closer to 600. In addition, Belmont is literally ―on the other side of the tracks‖; the school houses a much larger population of students from low-income families, and its reputation in the community is much different than that of Manning—a fact which may seem to be unrelated to the budget, but I believe is quite telling.

Reflections on Budget Comparison: Low-Wealth County Supplement Funds: As the chart on the next page demonstrates, Belmont receives more than double the amount of money from this set of funds than does Manning. This seems to be a reflection of the differing populations—Belmont’s side of the district is made up of a larger number of lower-income families, and therefore a larger proportion of LWC supplement funding is allotted there. Exceptional Children: This was one area of the budget where I was surprised to find that the dollar amounts were quite close to each other; in fact, though I thought Belmont had a larger population of EC students, Manning actually has slightly more funds in this category. After speaking with school personnel, however, I understood that the schools split their EC populations evenly along some categories; for example, Belmont has the ―severe-and-profound‖ classroom in the district, while Manning houses most of the students with autism. Still, Belmont has a much larger population in need of speech and language services—enough to have an inhouse speech therapist—than Manning does, and yet the numbers are still close. Academically & Intellectually Gifted: Though the difference is not great, Manning has more money for the AIG program than does Belmont; I am unsure if this reflects a larger population of AIG at Manning, but because Belmont is so much larger and still has less funding in this area, that would seem to be the case. Operations and Maintenance: There was a pretty significant difference in funding here, with Belmont having much more money in this category. This makes sense, as a) a larger student body means more custodians, and b) a larger building means more space to operate and maintain. Federal Monies: This is another area with a drastic difference in funding; Belmont receives nearly 1.5 times the amount of money Manning does from the federal government. From what I could tell, this helps explain the confusion related to EC funding; much of the federal money the district receives is related to IDEA and special education services (basically EC), and therefore this money would most likely support the additional EC classrooms and services provided at Belmont.

Capital Outlay: While the numbers in this category are tiny in comparison to the other areas, Manning has more funding here. I believe this is simply because Manning is a much older facility, and therefore have more dollars allotted for building repairs, furniture acquisition, land, etc.

Lauren Greenhill LEA School Finance Comparison Study – RRGSD Charts

$350,000 $300,000 $250,000 $200,000 $150,000 $100,000 $50,000 $0 Low Wealth County Supplement Belmont Manning

$300,000 $250,000 $200,000 $150,000 $100,000 $50,000 $0 Exceptional Children (Overall) Belmont Manning

$70,000 $60,000 $50,000 $40,000 $30,000 $20,000 $10,000 $0 AIG Belmont Manning

$160,000 $140,000 $120,000 $100,000 $80,000 $60,000 $40,000 $20,000 $0 Operations/Maintenance Belmont Manning

$700,000 $600,000 $500,000 $400,000 $300,000 $200,000 $100,000 $0 Federal $$ Belmont Manning

$7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 Capital Outlay Belmont Manning

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