High in Per-Pupil Spending

The Montauk district comes in at sixth out of the top 11.

The Montauk School District has ranked high on a nationwide list of American schools that spend the most per pupil. According to 247Wwallst.com, a financial news and opinion website, the Montauk district comes in at sixth out of the top 11. 

The company reviewed the United States Census Bureau’s Survey of School System Finances in order to determine the annual per-pupil expenditures across 9,545 school districts, nationwide, with at least 250 students enrolled during the 2015-16 academic year.

The Montauk School, with an enrollment of 355 that year, spent $38,507 per pupil, more than $17,000 above the state’s average per-student expenditure. 

Of the 11 schools on the list, five were in New York State, with four on Long Island, where revenue from property taxes is high, due to high property values. According to 247Wwallst.com, the Montauk School is nearly twice as well-funded as the average New York district. Almost all of its money — 93.6 percent — comes from local sources, more than double the national average. The federal government provides less than 1 percent of revenue for the district, well below the 8.3 percent national average.

Although high per-pupil spending does not necessarily lead to better educational outcomes, Jack Perna, the Montauk school’s superintendent, said, “We do much better than the state averages, as well as Suffolk County schools, on testing . . . but testing alone does not measure the success of a school.” Another reason for Montauk’s per-pupil expenses, Mr. Perna said, is that “most of our teachers have been here longer than 20 years and have master’s degrees.”

The superintendent said he is thankful for a supportive community and a board of education that provides the resources necessary.