Inside SimCity 2000: Schools
by Marty Faigin

I'd appreciate feedback on these columns, particuarly if you get different results or you don't agree with something I've said.

First, why build them at all? According to Dargahi/Bremer (p.125) "cities with a low EQ have a greater chance of both unemployment and rioting". So there you are; educate the sims or suffer the consequences.

The D&B book states that a school (1) will serve 15,000 sims, (2) will hold up to 1,500 students, and (3) can have up to 60 teachers. They also provide a table that shows that you need a student-to-teacher ratio of 14 to get an "A" and that a s/t ratio of 24 will give you a "D".

After a review of several cities, I discovered that SimCity actually has two school grading systems. Under normal circumstances the s/t ratios shown in Table 2-27 (p.128) are correct in both the DOS and Windows versions. In other words, if you let your s/t ratios rise into the 20's your grades will drop rapidly. Over 25 students per teacher will give you an F. Putting it another way, "A" level schools are small; usually under 800 students.

However, under certain conditions, cities with too few schools will try and cram more students and teachers into each school to compensate. For example, in one city I checked there was a school with 1607 students and 59 teachers (s/t ratio of 27) The grade should have been "F" but instead it rated a "B".

As an experiment I took a city of 81K which had only 6 schools and checked each one. The size range was quite wide (1,509-1,719) and, despite s/t ratios in the low 30's, the schools all had "C+" grades. Total student population was 9,829. I then doubled the number of schools to 12. When I checked again the size range was small (909-917), the s/t ratios were around 16, and the grades had returned to normal; "B+". Even more interesting was that the total school population increased 11% to 10,954.

So, in summary, keep your schools small (750-900). The D&B "15K" rule is much too conservative partly because it's difficult to get 60 teachers in one school. Good systems will generally require a school for every 8,000 or fewer sims.

This Web Page was created by Patrick Coston September 14, 1995, Last updated April 4, 2006