ELLSWORTH — What does it cost to educate a child in Maine?
It depends on where you live, how many students you have and how complete — or spare — the staffing and curriculum.
Isle au Haut spends $62,131.55 per pupil. The tiny island has four children in a one-room schoolhouse and one high school student educated off island at the town’s expense.
That’s the exception.
Even so, costs are relatively high for most of the towns and districts in Hancock County. The primary cause is low student-to-teacher ratios.
Less easily explained are the differences between comparable sized schools, whether they are operating alone or as part of an Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) or Regional School Unit (RSU).
Setting aside islands and other unusually compact communities, figures compiled by the state Department of Education show per-pupil costs in Hancock County ranging from a high of $19,154.41 in Southwest Harbor to a low of $9,053.07 in Regional School Unit 25, which is made up of Bucksport, Orland, Prospect and Verona Island.
The state figures include all costs other than capital expenditures, debt service and transportation.
Click below for a Maine Department of Education chart showing 2011-2012 per pupil expenditures.