California spends $400,000 for 2-kid school

California spends up to $200,000 per student annually to support tiny schools in remote parts of the state, according to a Legislative Analyst’s report. Some schools in the High Sierra, the Imperial Valley and along the coast have single-digit enrollments, notes California Watch.

Peculiarly, the state education code, which runs thousands of pages long, does not prescribe the minimum number of students a school needs to receive state support.

That is why Mountain High School in Pinecrest in the Summerville Union High School District in Tuolumne County – with a total enrollment of two – gets a “necessary small school supplement”  of $194,000 per student. So does South Fork High School in the same district. Cold Springs High, another district school in the hamlet of Long Barn in Stanislaus National Forest, has an enrollment of three. In addition to the supplemental funds, the state last year paid about $6,000 in base funding per student (generally referred to as “revenue limit” funding).

The state paid an extra $39 million last year to districts with very small schools. The report suggests setting a minimum school size of perhaps 20 students.

If it takes too long for students in remote locations to get to school, they could attend via video or enroll in a virtual school for less than $200,000 a year. For that matter, the state could pay for a personal tutor and have money left over.

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  1. They could pay for a personal tutor plus buy the tutor a nice house.

  2. I think this is a very positive step towards the twenty-teacher-per-student classroom.

  3. Even boarding school tuition would be cheaper…

  4. High school aged students who live on the offfshore islands of Maine used to have to go to boarding school (at the county’s expense) because there were so few of them. A 7 or 8 student grade school is do-able; a 3 or 4 student high school is not. Maybe this is still the case.

  5. Lou Gots says:

    Silly bird. It’s not about the the students, it’s about the teachers, and the administrators, and the non-teaching staff, and the contractors who build the school building, and on and on. Didn’t we learn anything is Wisconsin?

  6. Well, if we can get off the hook for educating some kids because they are inconveniently located, can we get off the hook for educating illegal aliens, since they aren’t supposed to be located here at all?

  7. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Who said anything about getting off the hook for educating them? All I see are suggestions for private tutors, distance learning, and boarding schools, all of which are reasonable options if homeschooling isn’t practical.

    You wanna live in the middle of nowhere? It’s got its advantages — you don’t die when things fall apart, for instance. But it’s also got trade-offs.

  8. SuperSub says:

    I’d say the worst part is the Superintendent admitting that the money targeted for these schools is used elsewhere in the district….

  9. It’s “getting off the hook” if we are refusing to give them the infrastructure and education that we give all other kids because it’s too expensive. We should use the “too expensive” card more often.

  10. Cal – I don’t think it’s so much an issue of “the infrastructure is too expensive for these kids.” It’s “400K is overspending to provide infrastructure for two kids.”

    Supplying 2 kids with lab supplies, computers, books, gym opportunities, subject are tutors, etc should cost a lot less than 400K per year. Either some people who should be part time are being paid full time, or those kids have a pretty amazing science lab!

  11. Notice that no one is saying “They are wasting money and could educate these kids the same way everyone else is educated with lessr”, but “the kids should be educated via a different method”.

    So no, that’s apparently not the issue.

  12. Well, in some sense it’s IMPOSSIBLE to educate 2 kids in exactly the same way you’d educate 400. And foolish to try— for instance, with only 2 kids, the school library doesn’t have to be quite as extensive–they’re hardly going to overwhelm the local library (assuming there is one.) And 2 kids don’t need the athletic department budget– gym class is necessarily going to involve much smaller activities– you can also have a smaller school building– one room would really do it. It would be insane to have 8 full time teachers. With 2 kids, you don’t really need administrative staff, the teacher can be principal, secretary, business office, etc.

    With 2 students, you don’t need a cafeteria staff….

    A lot of the “infrastructure” in a normal school really has very little to do with education. And a lot of “the same” doesn’t really apply to a class with 2 students. So yes, people are suggesting that it’s a waste to provide them the exact same environment that kids at larger school has– because a lot of what a big school has is not about education, but about keeping large numbers of teens safely corralled and pacified for 7 hours a day.

  13. With schools, there are economies of scale and below a certain number of students, it makes sense to change the type of education offered. A personal tutor for K-6 or K-8 and then boarding school for secondary school makes the most sense for remotely located students.

  14. My daughter went to a private Christian school up until she was in the 6th grade and then the school closed down, there was only about 15 students in each class and she really excelled because there was a lot of one on one time with each student.

    When it closed we home schooled for a while but then had to send her to a public school which was a huge mistake, she started failing grades and getting a bad attitude, I wish the private school would have never closed..