Thursday, March 27, 2014

Southbridge Ranked 14th In Central Mass. Per Pupil School Spending

Ken O’Brien

Go Local Worcester reports this morning that Southbridge ranks 14th highest among 43 central Massachusetts communities in terms of per pupil expenditures.

Based on 2012 data from the Massachusetts Department of Education the publication calculates Southbridge spent an average of $12,894 per student. That compares to $12,985 for Tantasqua, which ranked 13th and $12,786 for Webster which was ranked as number 15 in the region. 

The Southern Worcester County Regional Vocational school district (Bay Path) was ranked third with an average per pupil expenditure of $16,966.

It should be noted that the top three districts in terms of per pupil expenditures were vocational technical school districts.

The article states, “Budgeting for vocational technical schools is often higher than that of public schools for a variety of reasons, but the biggest factor is the additional technology and equipment needed for training their students. Vocational schools also need to buy equipment more frequently, because having up-to-date labs and technology is important for properly teaching students.”

The author also notes that this single metric does not always equate with district performance.

Out of 43 school districts, 11 are more than $2,000 lower than the state average per pupil. Of those 11, four of the school districts are more than $3,000 less than the state average.
The Dudley-Charlton School District is one of those four school districts. With only $10,624 per pupil to spend - ranked fourth lowest in Central Massachusetts - the school district admits that funding isn’t always easy.
“We have ranked toward the bottom of the state consistently for the past 25 years now,” said William Prifone [sic], the finance director for the Dudley-Charlton School District. “Our district has a strong reliance on state funding, which has only increased by a small amount. Our town is also one of the many throughout Massachusetts that is strapped financially.”
Although Dudley-Charlton lacks the funding per pupil that other schools may have, the school district continues to make the best of the situation. What is lost in budget cuts and lack of funds, the school makes up with a “great work ethic,” according to Prifone [sic].
“We run a thin staff,” said Prifone [sic]. “With that being said, our district has a great work ethic. But even with that attitude, we do face disadvantages. We are not able to integrate as much technology into the classroom as we would like. We try to save money on all items not in the classroom.”
And although Dudley-Charlton lacks the per pupil funding that other schools may possess, their allocation of funds has been paying off. Out of the 43 districts in Central Massachusetts, Dudley-Charlton ranked 16th in graduation rates for the year 2012 with a graduation rate of 91.3-percent.


  1. If ranking in the top third of central MA school spending per student has only given us a level 4 school system the solution is not more money. The superintendant is just like every other government bureaucrat. If it's not working blame others and demand more money.
    Show us some results before you dig deeper into our pockets.

  2. Most of the problems in this district originate with the management, or lack there of... This superintendent's managerial skills seem not to include consensus building -- a cornerstone of lasting reform and change. However, he does exhibit an expertise in what poor mangers are skilled in: he instills fear into his employees; he keeps changing the parameters to of what is expected; and he places blame on everyone but himself. This all leads to the teachers and staff doing nothing but keeping there heads down and not standing up for what they know to be right.

    The results of his management style can be quantified in the number of great teachers who have left the district (not only those who he has crucified). Another statistic that is glaring is the amount of money leaving the district in unemployment, administrative leave, and soon to be lawsuits. It is time to show Buzz and his gang the door, reduce the number of administrators at the main office, and put in place an administration that cares for the kids and not for themselves....

  3. Anon 8:36 like what could be heard from the dais from the sc members when buzz was ranting and not presenting the budget - AMEN !!!

  4. Wow can somebody send the go local guy a picture of our new school building?
    Management might be bad but to use a picture of the FINS AND TALES BUILDING?
    We have to accentuate the little positive we have.

  5. Buzz emphatically stated during the MCAS presentation last fall that the district had plenty of money. This statement came when Spelling Bee Champion Donovan questioned if the district had enough money. It's on YouTube. Can't deny it.

    So why do we need a 6.2% increase, on top of the 1 million dollar increase last year? Unemployment? Well stop firing people falsely. Students selecting other schools? Well do a better job. Over whelming legal bills? Well stop terminating, suspending, paid administrative leaves. It's not rocket science - you can't ignore emploee due process and rights. This is not 1941 Germany!

    Have you had enough yet Southbridge? Buzz, McLoughlin, Donovan and Quinney need to go. And if the other two remain silent in face of these issues, they should go to.

  6. Southbridge's Best Kept Secret: Rising Poverty.

  7. Well Southbridge . . . . Have you had enough yet?

  8. It's definitely time for a charter school in Southbridge. Nearly 300 students attending neighboring towns! And it's certain to go higher next year.

    Charter schools: no unions - no elected school committees -

  9. I just went on the Southbridge MHS web site. It has Amy Allen listed as principal, a man listed as acting principal 9-12 and a lady listed as acting principal 6-8. How many principals are there? I clearly remember the school committee voting to have one principal for our new school. Now there are three? I don't get it. Has the school population increased that much? Or do they just have surplus money to spend?


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