Trego Excerpts from the Small School Survey

Looking at where your school ranks in comparison with others is important.  Montana’s Small School Alliance conducted a survey of small schools, and we’ve excerpted where Trego ranks in certain specific categories.  Here they are, with some explanations for abbreviations.  Many of us speak fluent English, but are not fluent in bureaucrat.

Taxable Value per ANB – $84,491 – pretty much the median.  Still, this category needs an explanation, and then the explanation needs a second explanation.  ANB is an abbreviation for Average Number Belonging.  Since that doesn’t really explain anything, consider this to be taxable value per student (it isn’t but it’s close enough).

General Fund Budget wo SPED – $190,972 – #20 out of 33.    Since the median is 16 or 17, 20 is pretty close to the center of the pack.  SPED is an abbreviation for Special Education – and for a small school, SPED can really affect the budget.  There are two ways SPED affects the budget – generally, somewhere around a sixth of the students qualify for SPED.  That’s the group statistic.  Then the individual student can qualify as needing very little, or a great deal.  It’s easy to see why the survey took SPED out of the calculation – if it were left in, the survey would be apples and oranges.

Cost per ANB to General Fund Budget wo SPED – $7,638 – right at the median.  Basically cost per student, excluding SPED.

General Fund Reserve as percentage of General Fund – 8.45% – third from bottom.   This number isn’t a great surprise – it’s only in the past couple of years Trego’s school board has even started on a building reserve fund.  Reserves are important, but need to be used at times.

2021-22 Guaranteed Tax Base – $0 – a dozen of the 33 surveyed schools tied for bottom.  I’m not sure this is a bad place to be.

Over Base Budget – $43,038 – 20th of 32 – still very close to the median.

Over Base Mills – 20.38 – median.

Transportation Budget per ANB – $1,960 – fourth from top, more than double the median.  This category shows Trego with high expenses to bring students to school.  Just the statistical placement of this category shows that it needs to be reviewed.  It may just be the remote nature of the district, but it may also mean alternatives need to be examined.

SPED personnel -17th out of 32 – another median.  Remember that SPED can be a statistical artifact – if it turns out to be 10% or 25% eligibility, opposed to 16%, the general statistic isn’t the controlling one.

Teachers Salaries as percent of General Fund – 59.81% -6th from top.  This means in the top 20% in this category. 

Teacher/Enrollment Ratio – 5.55 students per teacher – 27th lowest ratio of 31 schools.  This is probably a good thing from an education perspective.  From an economic perspective, a slightly higher ratio might be appropriate.

Base Teacher Salary – $32,000 – median.  (For 2022-23, the base salary is $33,920.

Average Teacher Salary – $36,909 –  31st of 41- a figure that is in the bottom quartile because none of our teachers have longevity – remember, it wasn’t that long ago that we only had 4 “ANB”.

School Clerk – low in survey $15, high $45.64 per hour, Trego $20 per hour.  Trego is about in the middle.

Bus Driver – low in survey $12.85, high $27.58 per hour.  Trego is $18 per hour.  Since the entire transportation program merits examination, this probably deserves a glance too – but is close enough to the median that it seems unlikely to be driving the transportation budget up.

Curious? Want more information? Barring confidentiality issues, school information is typically very public, as it is publicly funded. Contact the school clerk if you have any questions, or just want to learn more.

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