DESE releases spending breakdown for Missouri schools


JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin School District spends tens of millions of dollars every year.

And now you can see how much they spend per student.

How does it add up?

District-wide, Joplin averages more than 8,000 dollars per student.

But the numbers vary widely depending on the school involved.

Josh DePoe, Irving Principal, said, “In kindergarten today, we did some small group math activities.”

It’s just another day learning numbers for these five and six year olds at Irving Elementary School, this time with a holiday twist.

“The theme is Christmas for sure and they’re using Christmas items – Christmas trees, ornaments, candy canes.”

Getting that education isn’t cheap.

The state of Missouri says Joplin’s average cost per student at Irving is $8,165.

It’s just slightly above the district-wide spending average of about eight thousand per student, numbers that come from a new report.

Dr. Ron Lankford, Joplin R-8 Assistant Superintendent, said, “This is the first year that Missouri has produced this. They want to be sure school districts are spending federal money, their money, where it should be being put.”

Building specific programming can make a difference in the building’s cost, like lessons tailored for English learners at Irving.

But even the size of the classes themselves can make a difference.

A class of 15 – 16 students has fewer kids to divide up costs likes salaries and building upkeep.

“Drives their educational cost up compared to a school district maybe their average class size is running 23 to 24 students.”

So the Joplin school district isn’t surprised that West Central Elementary is the highest per student average at $9,800.

Kelsey Norman has almost 100 more students – and a much lower average at $6,900.

“It’s primarily driven by the number of students in a building and student to teacher ratio.”

All Joplin schools fall below the state average for spending – something district leaders say shows they’re spending taxpayer dollars efficiently.

We’ve got a link to the full breakdown for Joplin and all Missouri schools follow the link below.

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