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Release Information

CB13-92
**REVISED**

Contact:  Brian Lavin
Public Information Office
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013

Per Student Public Education Spending Decreases in 2011 for First Time in Nearly Four Decades, Census Bureau Reports

Note: This is a revised release due to two changes. The embedded map incorrectly had Wyoming as spending more than $16,000 and the District of Columbia spending less than $16,000. The map was corrected to reflect the true spending for Wyoming ($15,849) and the District of Columbia ($18,475).

There was also a calculation error for the 100 largest school districts, sorted by per student spending. The calculation was for the 50 largest school districts, and incorrectly stated that it was the 100 largest school districts. The original order would be true for the 50 largest school systems: New York City School District ($19,770), Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland ($15,483), Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland ($15,421), Milwaukee Public Schools in Wisconsin ($14,244) and Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland ($13,775).

Fiscal year 2011 marked the first decrease in per student public education spending since the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting data on an annual basis in 1977, according to new statistics released today (dollars not adjusted for inflation). The 50 states and the District of Columbia spent $10,560 per student in 2011, down 0.4 percent from 2010. The top spenders were New York ($19,076), the District of Columbia ($18,475), Alaska ($16,674), New Jersey ($15,968) and Vermont ($15,925).

Public Elementary-Secondary School System Per Pupil Current Spending by State: Fiscal Year 2011Total expenditures by public elementary and secondary school systems totaled $595.1 billion in 2011, down 1.1 percent from 2010. This is the second time total expenditures have shown a year-to-year decrease, the first time being 2010.

Today's findings come from Public Education Finances: 2011. These statistics provide figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of the nation's elementary and secondary public school systems for the 2011 fiscal year. The release includes detailed statistics on spending — such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits — at the national, state and school district levels.

Of the $595.1 billion in total expenditures for public school systems, $522.1 billion is comprised of current spending (i.e. operational expenditures, not including long-term debt). Expenditure for instruction amounted to $316.3 billion (60.6 percent) of the total current spending, while costs for support services amounted to $178.7 billion (34.2 percent). Instructional salaries were the largest expenditure category for public elementary and secondary education, accounting for $208.8 billion in 2011.

On the revenue side, public schools received $599.1 billion in total revenue for 2011, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2010. The largest source of revenue is from state governments at $265.9 billion (44.4 percent of total revenue), followed by local governments at $259.5 billion (43.3 percent) and the federal government providing $73.7 billion (12.3 percent).

States that had the highest percentage of their total public school revenue coming from federal funding included Mississippi (22.3 percent of the statewide education revenue), South Dakota (20.3 percent), Louisiana (18.7 percent), Alaska (17.8 percent), Florida (17.8 percent) and New Mexico (17.7 percent).

Conversely, states that had the lowest percentage of their total school revenue coming from federal funding were New Jersey (5.1 percent), New Hampshire (6.5 percent), Vermont (7.1 percent), Massachusetts (7.8 percent), Minnesota (7.8 percent) and Connecticut (8.3 percent).

Other highlights:

  • Property taxes accounted for 65.6 percent of revenue from local sources for public school systems.
  • Of the 100 largest school systems by enrollment in the U.S., New York City School District in New York ($19,770) had the highest current spending per student in 2011, followed by Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts ($19,181), Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland ($15,483), Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland ($15,421), and Howard County Schools in Maryland ($15,139).
  • States spending the least per student were Mississippi ($7,928), Arizona ($7,666), Oklahoma ($7,587), Idaho ($6,824) and Utah ($6,212).
  • Eight out of nine states in the Northeast region of the U.S. were ranked among the top 15 in current spending per student in 2011. The remaining state in the northeast, Maine, was ranked 17th. Out of the 16 states with the lowest per student spending, 15 were in the South and West regions. The remaining state, South Dakota, was in the Midwest.
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The data used in the tabulations came from a census of all 15,191 public school systems. As such, they are not subject to sampling error. Although quality assurance methods were applied to all phases of data collection and processing, the data are subject to nonsampling error, including errors of response and miscoding. For more information, visit the Census Bureau's website at <http://www.census.gov/govs/school/>.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014