YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown City School District spends more per pupil than any other school district in Mahoning County and is losing the most students. That’s according to data released Monday by the Mahoning County Auditor’s Office.
The lowest expenditure per pupil is in the Poland School District, followed by Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, West Branch and South Range, according to the School District Financial Statistics.
All school districts spent more on students in 2022 compared to 2019, according to the data.
Youngstown spends nearly $30,000 per student while Poland spends just under $12,000.
Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham said that on average, school districts in Mahoning County receive 60% of property tax proceeds, which the county auditor distributes.
“Key measurements include total enrollment, cost per student and revenue sources. The purpose of this report is to make taxpayers aware of how their taxes are being spent and to encourage active dialog with school boards and administrators,” Meacham said.
Average daily membership, or the number of students enrolled in a district, shows over a 50% decrease for Youngstown compared to 2019. Most other districts have seen smaller decreases in student population since 2019, except for South Range, Western Reserve and Lowellville, which all saw small increases.
Meacham said the population in Mahoning County continues to decline with fewer school-aged children. He said most schools are facing lower enrollment and higher costs per student.
“Some districts have turned to open enrollment to boost enrollment. Ohio is changing the formula for the amount an open enrollment student brings with them. The change in state school support will impact the financial effect of open enrollment in the eight districts participating. For example, Jackson-Milton School District has 195 open enrollment students out of 800 total students. State revenue per student was $4,669 in 2022, and total cost per student was $13,392, leaving local revenue of $8,430. As state support decreases, school administrators must calculate the financial impact, and cost to residents, of educating students from other districts,” Meacham explained.
Local school districts are funded through local property taxes and state funding. Typically, financially distressed districts receive more state funding to make up for the disparity in property taxes compared to wealthier districts. In addition, poorer districts spend funds to implement more programs to address hunger, supplemental education, and address social-emotional needs of students.