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K-12 School Spending Up 4.7% in 2019 From Previous Year

Erika Chen

The nation spent $752.3 billion on its 48 million children in public schools in fiscal year 2019, a 4.7% increase from the previous year and the most per pupil in more than a decade.

Instructional salaries, the largest expenditure within current spending, totaled $239.9 billion in fiscal year 2019 or 31.9% of total expenditures for public elementary-secondary education.

The Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances tables released today show per pupil current spending for elementary and secondary public education (pre-K through 12th grade) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased 5.0% to $13,187 in FY 2019 from $12,559 in FY 2018 — the largest increase since 2008.

Breaking Down School Spending

Total expenditures for elementary and secondary education include FY 2019 “current” spending, capital outlay expenditures, interest on debt and payments to other governments.

Current spending, which made up $652.3 billion or 86.7% of total expenditures in FY 2019, consists of expenses for day-to-day activities, including teachers’ salaries and benefits and most other school system daily expenses.

Capital outlay, another portion of total expenditures that includes construction, large equipment expenses and improvements to existing structures, totaled $76.3 billion or 10.1% of total expenditures.

Instructional salaries, the largest expenditure within current spending, totaled $239.9 billion in fiscal year 2019 or 31.9% of total expenditures for public elementary-secondary education.

Total expenditure increased by 4.7% while total revenue increased by 4.5% from fiscal year 2018.

The data visualization below enables users to view and compare selected finance data, including revenue and expenditure, for FY 2019 by state.

In the first graphic, users can select a category of finance data from the drop down to update the statistics displayed in the map or select a state by clicking on the map.

In the second graphic, a state can also be selected from the drop down to filter by state the total revenues and expenditures for FY 2019 compared to FY 2018.

 

Where School Funding Comes From

In FY 2019, state governments contributed the largest share of funding to public school systems: $350.9 billion or 46.7%.

Local sources of revenue were the next largest at $342.9 billion or 45.6%, and the federal government contributed the least, $57.9 billion or 7.7%.

The 2019 Annual Survey of School System Finances includes data on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of elementary and secondary public school systems.

Please note that the data released today were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States. A preliminary report on 2020 fiscal year school finances data is scheduled to be released this fall.

 

Erika Chen is a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Educational Finance Branch in the Economic Reimbursable Surveys Division.

 

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This story was posted in: Education


Tags: Education , Government Finances

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