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Comparative Cost Per Member

Comparable Cost Measures

Cost can differ from one district to another and from one year to another. There may be several reasons for this variance such as educational programming, pupil transportation requirements, increases or decreases in debt service expenditures or having food and community service operations. Reliance on a single cost determination, which may not be representative for all school districts, can lead to erroneous conclusions. The following "comparable" cost measures were developed to limit or identify the effects of various factors that contribute to cost variances.

Total Current Educational Cost (TCEC)

This measure attempts to identify overall instructional and instructional support service costs attributable to district resident students. It can generally be described as the cost of the district's General and Special Project funds, excluding transportation and facility acquisition expenditures, less interfund transfers and revenues for instructional services the district provides to nonresident pupils such as tuition receipts, CESA and cooperative agreements and state interdistrict integration aid.

Total Education Cost (TEC)

This is the TCEC plus transportation, expenditures for facility acquisitions charged to the General, Special Project and Capital Expansion (Tax Levy Financed "Sinking") funds and debt service principal and interest.

Total District Cost (TDC)

This is TEC plus food and community service costs. It should be noted that food and community service activities are funded with a combination of fees, other program revenue, and property taxes.

Comparative Cost Files

Over time, the computation logic used in the comparative cost calculation has been revised to more accurately reflect a true measure of education cost. The accounting methodology for the current Comparative Cost calculation, as well as those for prior years, can be found in the Excel links below.

Accounts used in Calculation

Multi-Year Comparative Cost Summary Data File

Multi-Year Comparative Cost Detail Accounts Data File

Single-Year Comparative Cost Pie Charts

The links below allows users to create pie charts using audited Annual Report data, as rolled up into Comparative Cost breakdowns. Note that single-year comparisons between districts may be misleading if any of the districts in question incurred an unusual expense in any given year. Users are encouraged to research the reasons behind data anomalies before using these charts.

The Eight-District worksheet prints on two pages, four pie charts/data tables to one page. Given the variability of expenditure data across districts, data label placement within the pie chart for some districts may be less than optimal. Should you wish to adjust the data label placement on any pie chart, the worksheet will allow for this as is has been left unprotected:

  • click once on the label to be adjusted;
  • click a second time and hold over the identified label until a gray lined box appears around the label; then
  • release the mouse button and point/click the mouse at the box edge, dragging to the desired position.

One-District Comparative Cost Pie and Data Charts

Eight-District Comparative Cost Pie and Data Charts

Single-Year All-District Comparative Cost Summary Data Files

Comparative Cost/Revenue Homepage

Historical Information About Cost Comparables

During the early 1980s, the Complete Annual School Cost (CASC) statistic was developed to provide a numeric measure for interdistrict cost comparisons. The original CASC calculation was the cumulative total of the gross cost of the general, special project, debt service and food service funds, plus the net cost of the capital projects fund. Historically, CASC had been reported on a resident per member basis (membership is defined as resident enrollment adjusted for full-time equivalency).

Over time, K-12 educational programming and manner of delivery have become increasingly varied. Whereas in 1980, it was generally expected that a K-12 student would be educated in the district of residence, today's K-12 student may be participating in any one of a variety of educational programs including Open Enrollment, Special Transfer Integration Program (Milwaukee area), or any of the Choice or Charter School Programs. As the diversity of education delivery methods increased, the original CASC methodology grew to be outdated. In an increasing number of cases, by the late 1990's the cost to educate certain children was no longer accurately represented in the district actually incurring the cost. This resulted in the development and implementation of new measures during the 1999-00 school year.

Note: The "old" CASC is NOT comparable to the "new" comparative cost measure.

For questions about this information, contact (608) 267-9114