Minot Public School Board
In a recent letter to the editor, Scott Williams questioned school district spending. His letter is somewhat confusing. Mr. Williams twice made the point that he questions the correlation between the amount of money spent by local governments and the outcomes from that spending. In between the two paragraphs in which Mr. Williams asserts this opinion, he made an argument for using test scores (ACT) to measure the outcomes for local schools, and then proceeded to compare the state per pupil spending to the test scores. Either there is a correlation between spending, or not. If not, as Mr. Williams asserted, there is no logic to his statements.
Mr. Williams went further, utilizing a series of hypothetical numbers to create questions about the fiscal responsibility of Minot Public Schools. He did not point out that the per-pupil cost for Minot Public Schools is lower than the state average. In fact, the average cost to educate a Minot Public School student during the 2010-2011 school year was $1,400.00 less than the state average.
Mr. Williams again applied logic in an interesting way. He theorized that per pupil spending could be multiplied times the number of students in a classroom and the wages and benefits of the teachers and para-professional could be subtracted from the total. Mr. Williams neglected to note that there are a number of costs, such as utilities, building maintenance, books, computers, curriculum, custodial services, secretarial services, special education, transportation, etc., which are a part of the cost of operating a school district.
We believe it is important for district patrons to be concerned about financial responsibility as well as student outcomes. It is also important to consider the overall benefit to society of having excellent schools. Minot Public School District has a legacy of responsible fiscal management while providing a wealth of opportunities for students by offering a broad, deep and rich curriculum. This curriculum includes arts, music, technology, science, character education, physical education, as well as a multitude of career and technical opportunities.
Minot Public School District takes its mission statement seriously. We are here to "empower all learners to succeed in a changing world." That would not be possible if we measure our success only by a test score or an average cost. On the idea that costs are not necessarily correlated with outcomes, we agree.
Our primary goal is to provide excellent educational opportunities for our students in a manner that is fiscally responsible. Our district has embraced the Professional Learning Communities approach to education, and we continue to strive to meet the expectations of a changing world. We are proud of the Minot Public School District and we are proud to serve as members of the board of education.