Study: School spending high, tax rate moderate

Evanston public schools spend far more to educate each student than most school districts in the state.

The per-pupil cost of sending a student to Evanston Township High School over the past four years totalled over $69,000 according to an analysis of state school board data by the Chicago Reporter.

That’s the second highest spending level among the state’s more than 100 high school districts.

But the median property tax rate for ETHS over those years was $2.21 — the 40th highest in the state.

Thanks to relatively high property values compared to the number of students being served, Evanston is able to spend more money on schools than most districts while imposing a comparatively moderate tax burden.

The same pattern holds true at the elementary level.

The per-pupil cost of sending a student to school District 65 from kindergarten through eighth grade over the past nine years totalled $129,000

That’s the 19th highest spending level among the state’s more than 750 elementary school districts.

But when it comes to the tax rate homeowners paid to fund education, District 65 was in the middle of the pack. It’s $3.52 rate ranked 408th among districts statewide.

School funding disparities across the state have been in the news this week with state  Sen. James Meeks leading a bus caravan of Chicago public school students to protest funding disparities at New Trier Township high schools.

In addition the Chicago Urban League filed suit last month challenging state funding formulas as racially discriminatory.

At the high school level per-student spending ranged from less than $30,000 at Webber Township High School District 204 in Buford to over $72,000 at Highland Park Township District 113.

At the elementary level the range was from $53,183 spent per student by Central School District 51 in Washington to $228,442 at.  Lake Forest’s Rondout School District 72.

Related story

Wildly Disparate Funding (The Chicago Reporter)
(Includes spreadsheets with data comparing all Illinois school districts.)

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