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North Haven, CT 2023-2024 Budget Research

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

In advance of the 2023/2024 annual budget cycle in North Haven, I wanted to gather some data to help with informed decision making. A few notes before we begin:

1) All of this information is public. I have completed some calculations on top of public information to derive additional context (ex: I took the total Board of Education budget and divided it by the total number of residents in North Haven. Both publicly available, but taken together they create something new).

2) Some publicly available data needed to be manually entered and while I tried to double check everything, user error may exist. If you find something, shoot me a quick email and I’ll take a look :)

3) This is not meant to be an official document from the Board of Education. I created this to enable responsible decision making (I am one of nine Board of Education members) and am making it available to the public for transparency, but this is a private analysis.

The Summary - Up Front

North Haven is spending slightly less than our peers (District Reference Group) on education. We are getting slightly better results. There are clear areas of improvement that stick out. If we attack these opportunities, North Haven has the potential to rank at the very top of our District Reference Group.

District Reference Group - Proportionate Board of Ed Spend

North Haven appropriates about 52% of the overall annual budget to the Board of Education. When compared to other districts in our DRG (District Reference Group), North Haven appropriates roughy 10 percentage points less of the overall budget. We are a little over 1 standard deviation below the norm. This is not cause for concern, but we should monitor as we move forward.

Calculation: BoE budget / Total Budget

Per Pupil Expenditure (PPE)

The Per Pupil Expenditure is a state defined metric that is applied across all districts. It represents how much each district is spending to educate the average student. Because Boards of Education can’t independently bond for items like school renovations, (borrow money, like a mortgage) debt service and large bonded projects are not included for any district.

North Haven Per Pupil Expenditure
North Haven Per Pupil Expenditure

We rank 11 out of 24 for PPE (rank 1 being the lowest PPE). This means we spend less per student than most of our peers as well as spending less than the DRG average.

DRG D PPE Comparison
DRG D PPE Comparison

North Haven is consistently slightly lower than the DRG D average for PPE, but we are pretty close. I also added the highest (Old Saybrook) and lowest (Ledyard) from a PPE perspective to show the upper and lower bounds. I added drop-downs to the Google Sheet so you can feel free to compare other districts here.

Trended PPE for North Haven and DRG Average
Trended PPE for North Haven and DRG Average

Next Generation Accountability Index (NGA)

The Next Generation Accountability Index is a state calculation based off 12 pre-defined indicators.

North Haven NGA Score
North Haven NGA Score

We rank 10 out of 24 for NGA (rank 1 being the highest in this case). This means we have better test scores and indicators than most of our peers.

DRG D NGA Score Comparison
DRG D NGA Score Comparison

North Haven does well in ELA, Math, and Science, but there is always room for improvement. New Haven county is a hub for science based industry. I’d like to see us punch well above our weight here and enable lucrative careers that could result in students moving back here post college or tech school.

I think we should improve on at least 3 metrics:

  1. On track to graduate HS

  2. 4-year graduation

  3. Arts access

North Haven vs. Highest and Lowest PPE NGA Scores
North Haven vs. Highest and Lowest PPE NGA Scores

North Haven has become more consistent over the years in NGA score. The pandemic impact isn’t yet fully clear, but North Haven appears to have fared better than our peers in terms of holding our ground on NGA score. Rank is highly volatile so this is another metric to watch closely to see if trends emerge.

High Needs student improvement is a stand-out to be proud of.

North Haven Trended NGA by Index
North Haven Trended NGA by Index

State Funding to Boards of Education

North Haven taxpayers are paying proportionately more than our peers in DRG D for schools. We receive the 5th lowest allocation from the state and that means a larger percent of our schools need to be funded by local tax dollars.

Source: EdSight

Percent of Board of Education Budget from State of CT
Percent of Board of Education Budget from State of CT

Ok - what does this all mean?

  • Compared to our sister districts in DRG D we are spending less money than the average per student and per resident while obtaining better results than the average, but not by much.

  • There is room for improvement here - our NGA could be improved with additional focus and investment in art and graduation. We could potentially dominate our DRG with a slightly higher investment (bringing us in line with the DRG D average).

  • A way to achieve this without impacting North Haven tax-payers is to push for more funding from the State of CT, where we receive considerably less than our peers.Email our State Representative and State Senator if you agree. They both work hard for us and I think they would agree too :)

Find even more detail in this Google Slide Presentation I put together.

If you made it this far, congratulations! You are truly a nerd :)

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