Monday, August 29, 2005

A Fantastic Little School with a Big Budget

This photo is an aerial view of the hands down best little school in Oklahoma, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM). Its located at 1141 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

This little powerhouse with a voracious appetite just scored 31.3 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, far and away the best of any school in Oklahoma, as reported locally by KJRH here.

No doubt. They get the best and brightest. And I am glad that we have such a prestigious school for juniors and seniors available to gifted Oklahoma students.

As I am getting more cynical as I mature, and with my typical jaded eye on government spending, I decided to do a little research. Here is what I found out. According to their own website, OSSM has a student population of about 134. This breaks down into 71 juniors and 63 seniors. They have 26 full time faculty and 11 adjuncts, for a generous student-to-teacher ratio of under 4-1! You can link here for their budget. They are spending $49,047 per student. Yes, that's right, $49,047 per student, ($6,572,319 for 134 students). And does this include the cost to construct the buildings on campus? I know that they have been supported by the Schusterman foundation from Tulsa, who is very interested in common education, so my guess is that there are even more dollars spent on this school that what flows through the budget.

The admission process is very competitive, by their own admission. I'm glad. I would hate to think we were spending 10 times the amount for any other student on anyone ordinary. But in this case, the requirement in the Oklahoma Constitution to provide a "free and appropriate" public education has been met. Our hard earned tax dollars at work!


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