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UPDATE: VICE Magazine and Per-pupil Spending in Detroit Public Schools

In response to this post (Poor Mojo's Newswire: Detroit schools are worse than you can possibly imagine) astute Mojonaut JP Pagán writes:

First off, LOVE your site. I check the news feed daily and you guys have a very very signal to noise ratio.

That said, I have one issue with the link to the VICE story on Detroit Public Schools. I don't know much of anything about DPS, but the fact that VICE had no source for the claim that DPS spends the most money per student (a claim you guys highlighted) got me wondering and sofa-googling.

There is data here (http://www.mackinac.org/depts/epi/fiscal.aspx), not that it's easy to comb through, but I also found this article that places DPS spending at 5th-highest in the state (http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/17280) and this one, which again takes Detroit out of the top spot (http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/07/29/opinion/doc5010760ba77b9432361166.txt?viewmode=fullstory). You'll probably notice both of those articles come back around to the Mackinac Center data I linked to the first time.

Anyway... it may be a minor point, but I'd take VICE's claim with a grain of salt. The overall point is hard to deny though: the schools suck.

Thanks again you guys (and gals) for what you do.

And thank *you* for keeping us honest, JP! This sounded off to me, too (I'd been poking around school spending numbers a little for me next "In It for the Money" column on the Ann Arbor Chronicle--SHAMELESS PLUG!) I checked with my wife--a Metro area high school teacher who did her training in DPS--and she says there's *no way* DPS is currently the top spender. She further notes that their high rank--among the top five--largely has to do with the fact that they're saddled with old, collapsing facilities, which cost an *enormous* amount to heat and maintain. That's a big part of why--absent fraud--little of the money makes it to the classroom: the bulk of it is wrapped up on patching the roof and keeping the boilers minimally functional.

*thanks jp!*