BEACON Study Estimates Garrett County Public Schools' Economic Impact on County

Last Updated on Apr 16, 2015 at 4:08pm | Education

The operation of Garrett County Public Schools generates an estimated economic impact of $67.91 million annually within the county, a study unveiled to the Board of Education today shows.
The study, conducted by the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at Salisbury University, examined four factors: the economic and employment impact of school system operations, the economic value of degrees awarded, the impact of the school system on economic development, and the school system’s role in the reduction of public costs such as crime, healthcare, and welfare. Among its other conclusions, the study also found that every dollar in operational budget spending results in total local spending of $1.42, and every dollar in capital budget spending results in $1.41 in total local spending and $1.80 in total spending in Maryland.
In recent years, GCPS has annually graduated students who will realize an additional lifetime earnings of approximately $28.89 million (estimated total present value). The present value of the county income tax to be paid on these additional earnings is approximately $536,000 per graduating class.
“This study quantifies what we have long known - the Garrett County Public School System has an immense impact on the local economy,” Mr. Matthew Paugh, Garrett County Board of Education President, stated.  “While the value of an educated population and trainable workforce goes beyond dollars and cents, the report demonstrates that funding of our local schools provides a substantial return on investment.”  
Based on the improved college-readiness of GCPS seniors, approximately $33.93 million in additional lifetime earnings can be attributed to GCPS graduates that are forecasted to successfully graduate college.  The present value of the county income tax to be paid on these additional earnings is $618,876 per graduating class. Having a high quality education system that retains and attracts families to the county further benefits local property values with each graduating class adding approximately $5.5 million to local real property values and over $54,000 in local real property taxes.
The study also found that each graduating class saves local government $21 million in public costs: $12 million in public health-care costs; $8 million in crime-related costs; and $1 million in welfare costs.
The principal investigator of the study was BEACON founding Director Dr. Memo Diriker. The organization offers business, economic, workforce, and community development consulting and assistance services to a variety of organizations, including businesses, government agencies, and non-profit community-based organizations. In December 2013, BEACON conducted a similar economic study for the Eastern Shore of Maryland Educational Consortium, which consists of the K-12 school systems in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.