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Census Bureau:

Per Pupil Spending Varies Heavily Across the United States

June 11, 2015

Per pupil spending for the nation was $10,700 during fiscal year 2013, a 0.9 percent increase from 2012, but varied heavily among states with a high of $19,818 in New York and a low of $6,555 in Utah.

These findings come from Public Education Finances: 2013, which provides figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems. The report and tables, released annually, include detailed statistics on spending – such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits – at the national, state and school district levels. The report was released on June 2 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“These statistics provide researchers, policymakers and the public with a picture of the nation’s public school system education revenue and spending,” said Stephen Wheeler, an analyst with the Census Bureau’s Educational Finance Branch. “These data are used in a variety of important economic measures such as the Department of Education’s Title I Grants and the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ gross domestic product measure.”

States and state-equivalents spending the most per pupil in 2013 were New York ($19,818), Alaska ($18,175), the District of Columbia ($17,953), New Jersey ($17,572) and Connecticut ($16,631). States spending the least per pupil included Utah ($6,555), Idaho ($6,791), Arizona ($7,208), Oklahoma ($7,672) and Mississippi ($8,130).

Of the 100 largest school systems by enrollment, Maryland had four of the top 10 public school districts with the highest current spending per pupil. The top-five school districts for per pupil spending were Boston City Schools ($20,502), New York City School District ($20,331), Anchorage School District in Alaska ($15,419), Montgomery County Schools in Maryland ($15,080) and Baltimore City Schools ($15,050).


Public Education Expenditures

Total expenditure by public school systems totaled $596.3 billion in fiscal year 2013, up 0.5 percent from the prior year. This breaks a three-year trend of decreasing total expenditures for elementary and secondary education. Public education expenditure categories include instructional spending, support service spending, capital outlay and other spending. Total school district debt increased by 3.2 percent, from $402.2 billion in fiscal year 2012 to $415.2 billion in 2013.

  1. Instructional expenditures
  2. Support services expenditures

Public Education Revenue

Revenue contributions from all sources to elementary and secondary education revenue amounted to $597.9 billion, up 0.6 percent from the prior year.

  1. Revenue contributions
  2. Local revenue contributions
  3. States receiving the highest percentage of their revenue from the federal government: Mississippi (16.0 percent), Louisiana (15.2 percent), South Dakota (14.8 percent), New Mexico (14.8 percent) and Arizona (14.6 percent).

  5. States receiving the lowest percentage of their revenue from the federal government: New Jersey (4.1 percent), Connecticut (4.3 percent), Massachusetts (5.1 percent), New York (5.6 percent) and New Hampshire (5.7 percent).

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau