A terrific budget debate — worth a read

by David Safier

As you know if you've been reading my posts, a battle has raged here at BfA over the amount Arizona spends on each student in public school. The number usually accepted is about $6,500, which puts us 49th in the nation. Matthew Ladner of G.I. insists it's more like $9,500, which he sometimes says puts us in the middle and other times says can't be compared easily with expenditures in other states.

My most recent post on the topic generated one of the best number crunching debates I've seen, and certainly the most illuminating I've read on the cost per pupil topic. I'm not bragging, by the way, because I didn't participate. I'm happy to be able to balance my checkbook using my $6 calculator.

A reader, todd, dug deep into state and national data to refute Ladner's claim, then Ladner came back to refute todd's refutation, and so on. It was a fair, evenly matched, very intelligent fight. Each side made its best case. I learned a great deal from both sides, though I side with todd's analysis.

I'll try to summarize the arguments on both sides in a later post. Meanwhile, if you want to see a good match and learn something in the process, go to the comments for this post and start reading.

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