As a Woodland Hills resident and parent, I read "Back to school/East: Your school, from enrollment to taxes" (East, Sept. 13) with great interest. While it was informative in its own right, raw figures can be difficult to compare. I did some additional analysis and found a disturbing picture of the Woodland Hills School District.
Its $82.07 million budget for about 4,000 students translates to a budget per student of about $20,532. The average budget per student for the 12 East districts listed is $15,123.
What's even more disturbing is the fact that despite this enormous expenditure per student, Woodland Hills, as a district, has failed to meet AYP for years. Taxes go up, staff are laid off, wages are frozen, programs are cut and still AYP is not met.
It has been stated that charter schools are draining the district's money. The reason that parents are pulling their children from Woodland Hills is simply that they are unsatisfied with the education children are receiving, despite the large per-student expenditure.
Let's look at the statistics from two districts that do meet AYP year after year: Hempfield and Penn-Trafford. Hempfield has a budget of $83.13 million, slightly higher than Woodland Hills. But Hempfield serves 6,600 students -- 65 percent more than Woodland Hills. Penn-Trafford has an enrollment of about 4,100. But its budget is $48.67 million.
Obviously, something is very wrong when two top-performing districts spend far less per student than one of the state's poorest-performing districts. These numbers are an embarrassment to all Woodland Hills students; they deserve better.
It's well past the time for Woodland Hills to get both its financial and educational houses in order.
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