What Matt Says:
Here’s what Matt Wright, school board member and former ‘Vote Yes’ Chairman, said on the Lakeland FB page when questioned about the huge per pupil expenditure difference between Lakeland and Alcoa. The school board picked Alcoa as one of the two school systems used as examples of what they say Lakeland Prep will be:
Federal Funds for Alcoa:
According to Matt Wright, one reason Alcoa spends so much more per student is the huge amount of Federal dollars they receive for free and reduced lunch programs. Let’s see how his claim holds up against facts.
From the Alcoa 2014-2015 City Budget1:
Total Alcoa School Budget for 2014: $17,545,000
Total Federal Funds to Alcoa Schools for 2014: $512,600
Percentage of School Budget from Federal Funds: 2.9%
Percentage of School Budget Spent for Food Service: 3.2%
Alcoa 2014 Per Pupil Expenditures2: $10,658.40
Alcoa 2014 Per Pupil Expenditures without Federal Funds: $10,349.31
Lakeland 2015 Per Pupil Expenditures3: $8,300
To attempt and explain away the huge difference between what Alcoa spends per pupil and what we currently spend by claiming “they receive a much higher percentage of federal tax dollars” is pure nonsense! The difference between what Alcoa spends and what Lakeland spends per pupil is clearly not related to free or reduced lunch programs.
BEP Funds For Alcoa:
Matt also insinuated the BEP formula could explain away this spending difference. BEP Funds are State monies that are used to equalize spending per pupil. They vary from city to city and from county to county and are calculated using many factors.
Here is the State (BEP) funding received at Alcoa4 and Lakeland:
Alcoa BEP Funding - $3,9035 per pupil
Lakeland BEP Funding - $4,6956 per pupil
Since Lakeland receives almost $800 MORE per pupil in BEP and County money than Alcoa, this is clearly not true, either. To claim “the BEP formula” is the reason for the difference in spending is also pure nonsense.
Total City Property Tax Funds to Alcoa Schools for 2014: $4,020,000
Percentage of School Budget from City Property Taxes: 22.9%
The City of Alcoa spends over $4,000,000 from property tax revenues just to support their schools! They’ve been doing this for many years, so know what they are doing. Matt Wright, never having done the job before, assures us we can have what Alcoa has, but for far less money.
This is important because the ‘Yes’ side fails to show their work, provide references or address the fact Lakeland can ONLY afford this bond because we’re the only city in Shelby County with no debt limits. The ‘Vote Yes’ organizers, including Matt Wright, request you to trust them to do all this under budget, but they fail to provide any substance. Here we show how what Matt says and what’s reality are two different things.
Attached below are two pages from the Alcoa 2014-2015 budget. The first shows revenues, the second shows expenditures.
 Student population of 1,869 from http://www.tn.gov/education/data/report_card/index.shtml