West Clermont discusses administrative costs

In the last school year, the West Clermont School District spent $1,700 less to educate each student than the average school in Ohio. Treasurer Alana Cropper said at the Nov. 22 school board meeting that the $8,777 per student cost at West Clermont is lower than the schools which the state designates as similar.

Cropper explained that the state compares schools by looking at 20 districts which it considers similar in demographics such as the number of pupils and land area.

Of similar schools in the Cincinnati area, only the Lebanon, Fairfield and Little Miami school districts spent less per student than West Clermont. The Little Miami School District was placed under a Fiscal Emergency by the state auditor last summer.

Other similar districts, such as Forest Hills, Oak Hills and Loveland spent more to educate their students.

According to Cropper, West Clermont also spends its money differently.

We allocate more of our expenditures directly to the classroom than any of our similar districts or the state average,” Cropper said. “Overall, we allocate 2.5 percent more in instruction than other school districts in the state.”

According to Cropper, the higher expenditure in the classroom is possible because of cuts in the administrative budget.

Dr. Gary Brooks, district superintendent, said that the savings is due to a long term commitment to cutting administrative costs. Since he came to West Clermont in 2004, the district has reduced costs by $1.8 million each year .

“Our central office looks like it did in 1970 when we had 3000 fewer students,” Brooks said.

Money saving strategies have included reducing administrative and office staff and eliminating the position of assistant principal in its schools.

Cropper added that last year the administrative costs were reduced by 2.14 percent. The district paid 58 percent of its budget in instructional costs, 10 percent on administrative costs and 20 percent for building costs. The balance goes to staff and pupil support.

West Clermont received a rating of Excellent with Distinction from the state this year.