Dollars & Sense (and Stats) of Ed in Douglas County

A Word from the Headmaster

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for data from 2015-16, the Douglas County School District spent $10,726 per student in the 2016-17 year.

Per pupil spending is higher, if one uses later data and consults National Education Association materials.

That means, if there is a fifth-grade classroom in a Roseburg public school with 25 students in it, there is likely more than $275,000 taxpayer dollars expended for those students.

Did you see the News Review article entitled, “State assessment: County is below average” in the September 19 print edition? News Review Article 20190919

The details might move the numbers slightly, but one could conclude that in that same random 5th-grade classroom, probably only half the students score “competent” in English.  The numbers do not improve as students get older, either.

  • The Oregon School Board Association (in a Fact Sheet on their website) notes that in 2001 the percent of personal income that went to K-12 public education was 4.2%.  They were apparently not happy it was so low.
  • According to the website,, speaking of charitable giving to church and religious charities: “only 5% tithe, and 80% of Americans only give 2% of their income.”

In 2019-20, Douglas County public schools are serving about 14,000 students.  Enrollment at Geneva and Umpqua Valley Christian Schools is probably around 350 combined, or 2.5% of public school enrollment.

If one loosely tied these statistics together, one could say, at least generally, that local Christians are likely paying more in taxes for public school education than they give to their church, that their tax money is part of a large provision to schools, that those public schools are losing the effort to instruct children in even basic English competencies, and that little of that is making much of a shift in enrollment to Christian education.

Please do not mistake my meaning.  Whenever I share statistics like this there is a perception from some that I am criticizing their particular family member or friend.

  • This is not about public school teachers, who labor under very trying circumstances, and many of whom are Christian people that love their students deeply.
  • This is also not about whether there should be public education.
  • This is a lot more about OPPORTUNITY!

For a fraction of the cost of public education, Christians can provide a better education and one that also inculcates a respect of God, of His Word, and of His authority.

Image result for christian educationYes, affordability is a challenge, especially as we still are compelled to pay taxes for public education.  The best answer to that, however, is higher Christian school enrollment and greater church participation.

(By the way, worth noting that Geneva Academy educates our 5th grade students with $5,400 tuition per year and our 7th-12th grade students for just $600 more and our class sizes are intentionally small, at 12-14 students.)

So, don’t be shy about sharing what you like about Geneva (or UVC, or Classical Conversations) with your friends.  If only two or three people out of 100 are doing something, the crowd, the herd, is going to be skeptical.  So talk it up.  What if 5% of school enrollment was in Christian schools?  That’s double what it is now.  What if Christian school enrollment was 10%, would it impact life and culture in Douglas County?  Definitely!  Be vocal.  Also, please know that you can bring friends for a tour, and I’m always happy to talk with people.

Brian R. Turner