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Which States Spend the Most Money on Their Students?

Education

Which States Spend the Most Money on Their Students?

Education

Census Shows Where Public School Dollars Go

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In 2016, public elementary and secondary schools across the nation received $353.2 billion in state and federal revenue, most of which goes into expenditures such as teacher’s salaries, transportation and other associated expenses.

So who’s spending the most on their students?

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For smaller school systems, funds are often distributed among fewer students and more dollars are put into their education.

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The current spending per pupil for all 50 states and the District of Columbia was $11,762 in 2016, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2015.

The states spending the most per pupil were New York ($22,366), the District of Columbia ($19,159), Connecticut ($18,958), New Jersey ($18,402) and Vermont ($17,873).

When looking at the per pupil spending number by itself, it seems like these states are putting the most into their students, but what do those numbers mean in context of the number of students per school system?

Nationwide, there were approximately 48.6 million children enrolled in public elementary-secondary schools in 2016. That’s over 48 million children sitting in state- and federally-funded classrooms.

How much funding each state gets and how it gets used is fundamental to the monitoring of public school education.

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Top 10 largest school districts by per pupil current spending

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For smaller school systems, funds are often distributed among fewer students and more dollars are put into their education. For larger school districts with more students, the funds may not be as concentrated.

Of the smallest 1,000 school districts based on enrollment size, over 700 of these districts spend more than the national amount of $11,762. Over 350 of these districts spend more than $20,000 per pupil.

However, not all large school districts spend less per pupil. Some very large school districts actually spend more than the national amount and are on par with spending in small districts.

When looking at the top 100 school systems by enrollment size, you see heavily populated states like New York, Massachusetts and Maryland rising to the top 100.

These statistics come from the 2016 Annual Survey of School System Finances. Education finance data include revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of elementary and secondary (prekindergarten through 12th grade) public school systems. Statistics cover school systems in all states, and include the District of Columbia. Data are nominal dollar amounts and do not reflect differences in local costs.

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Stephen Wheeler is a statistician in the Census Bureau’s Economic Reimbursable Surveys Division.

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This story was posted in: Education


Tags: Education
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