The States Spending the Most on Education

By Government Spending 24/7 Wall St.

In 2011, for the first time in decades, the amount the nation’s schools spent per student fell. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest release on education spending, the nation’s schools spent $10,560 per student in 2011, down from $10,600 per student in 2010. In most states, however, spending increased.

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Based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest release on education spending per student, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the states that spent the most and least on education. For the past seven years, New York spent more than any other state, at just over $19,000 per student. Utah spent less than a third of that.

The states that spent the most per student appear to be the ones that can best afford it. Median household income in nine of the 10 top-spending states is higher than the U.S. median.

These are the states spending the most  and the least on education. 

 

10. Pennsylvania
> Spending per pupil: $13,467
> Total education spending: $26.2 billion (6th highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 88.6% (23rd highest)
> Median household income: $50,228 (23rd highest)

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The Pennsylvania school system spent $13,467 per student in 2011, the 10th highest of all states. Of that, nearly $8,200 was spent on teaching costs such as teacher salaries, which was also the 10th highest of all states. Most of the remaining money was spent on support services such as administration and maintenance. Of the more than $27 billion that the Pennsylvania school system received in funding in fiscal 2011, 53.3% came from local sources, the eighth highest of all states. About 88.6% of the state’s adult population were high school graduates as of 2011, higher than the 85.9% across the country.

9. Rhode Island
> Spending per pupil: $13,815
> Total education spending: $2.2 billion (8th lowest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 84.8% (15th lowest)
> Median household income: $53,636 (17th highest)

Out of the nearly $14,000 spent per student, the Rhode Island school system spent $8,398 on salaries and wages, the sixth most of any state. That year, 53% of school funding was from local sources, the second-highest proportion in the nation. But this high local spending has caused problems for the small state. In 2011, nearly 2,000 teachers in Providence were told they were being let go. However, most of these workers were not fired. Mayor Angel Taveras explained that the measure was designed to give the city flexibility as it worked to close a massive budget deficit.

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8. Maryland
> Spending per pupil: $13,871
> Total education spending: $13.0 billion (14th highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 88.9% (21st highest)
> Median household income: $70,004 (the highest)

The Maryland schools system spent $13,871 per student in fiscal 2011, with $8,457 going directly to teaching costs — the eighth highest among all states. Localities accounted for a large amount of the funding. In fiscal 2011, 49.7% of funding came from local sources, much higher than the 43.3% nationwide. That year, $7,835 per pupil was collected from local sources, the eighth-highest amount in the nation. It helps that Maryland has one of the nation’s wealthiest tax bases. The median household income in 2011 was $70,004, higher than any other state. Maryland ranked third in K-12 achievement, with nearly 44% of public school students in the 11th and 12th grade receiving high Advanced Placement scores — the highest percentage in the nation.

7. Massachusetts
> Spending per pupil: $13,941
> Total education spending: $14.8 billion (11th highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 89.2% (19th highest)
> Median household income: $62,859 (5th highest)

The Massachusetts school system was among the top 10 spenders, per student, both on teachers and support services and staff. Local taxes provided 54% of the state’s education funding, higher than all but six other states, while the federal government accounted for just 7.8% of all education funding, lower than all but four other states. Massachusetts was the best-performing state in all proficiency tests — it had the highest percentage of students in the nation considered proficient in both reading and math in the fourth and eighth grades. More than 39% of the state’s adult population had at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage in the country.

6. Connecticut
> Spending per pupil: $15,600
> Total education spending: $9.2 billion (20th highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 89.1% (20th highest)
> Median household income: $65,753 (4th highest)

While the national spending on education fell in 2011, it grew by 4.7% in the Connecticut school system, more than all but two other states. About 58.6% of funding for Connecticut education came from local sources, a higher percentage than any other state. Connecticut students performed better than students across the country on the NAEP’s standardized tests. As many as 44.7% of eighth-grade students were deemed proficient in reading, a higher percentage than any other state except Massachusetts. More than 36% of the population had at least a bachelor’s degree, a higher percentage than all but three other states.

Click here to read the rest of the list of the states spending the most on education. 

States Spending the Least

10. Colorado
> Spending per pupil: $8,724
> Total education spending: $8.6 billion (22nd highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 90.2% (15th highest)
> Median household income: $55,387 (15th highest)

At just under $1,400 per pupil in fiscal 2011, Colorado’s school system contributed less to employee benefits than all but two other states’ systems. Colorado barely spent more than $5,000 per student on teaching expenses, such as teacher salaries, one of the worst figures in the country. Still, schools got little help from outside their localities, receiving just $1,161 per student in federal funds and just $4,185 per student in state funds, both among the lowest amounts of any state in the nation. In late May, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the state legislature’s school funding formula, which critics argued failed to help poorer students. In 2012, a judge had declared the formula insufficient and said that not one school district in the state was appropriately funded.

9. Texas
> Spending per pupil: $8,671
> Total education spending: $52.5 billion (3rd highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 81.1% (3rd lowest)
> Median household income:$49,392 (25th highest)

Of the $8,671 the Texas school system spent per pupil, just $1,041 went to employee benefits, the lowest such figure in the country. Schools were especially hampered by limited funding from the state. Just 38.6% of school funding came from the state government, versus 44.4% nationwide. The state government’s contribution to Texas schools totaled just over $4,000 per student — lower than all but six other states. In February, a judge ruled that the Texas formula for financing its schools was unfair and did not provide adequate funding to school districts. As a result, the formula was declared to be in violation of the Texas Constitution, although the judge’s final order is still pending.

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8. Nevada
> Spending per pupil: $8,527
> Total education spending: $4.3 billion (17th lowest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 84.0% (9th lowest)
> Median household income: $48,927 (24th lowest)

Nevada’s school system spent just $5,031 per student on teaching costs in 2011, the seventh lowest of all states. Meanwhile, the $3,206 per student spent on support services like administration and maintenance also was among the bottom third of all states. Just 32.3% of all Nevada education funding came from local sources, much lower than the 43.3% across the country. Only over a quarter of fourth graders were considered to be proficient in reading, the fifth-lowest percentage of all states. Just 22.5% of the state’s adult population had at least a bachelor’s degree, the seventh-lowest percentage of all states.

7. North Carolina
> Spending per pupil: $8,312
> Total education spending: $13.7 billion (13th highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 84.7% (14th lowest)
> Median household income: $43,916 (12th lowest)

The North Carolina school system received just $9,951 in funding per student for the fiscal year 2011, well below the $12,411 per student nationwide. As a result of the limited funding, the school system spent just $8,312 per student in fiscal 2011, less than all but six states. Of this, $5,225 per student went to teaching costs, lower than 39 other states. The state also spent just $2,654 on support services like administration and maintenance, the third lowest of all states. North Carolina schools received just $3,366 per student from their localities, below the $5,375 per student across the country. Possibly limiting the ability of localities to raise money for their schools is North Carolina’s relatively low median household income. In 2011, it was just $43,916, well below the $50,502 median for the United States.

6. Tennessee
> Spending per pupil: $8,242
> Total education spending: $9.1 billion (21st highest)
> Pct. with high school diploma: 84.2% (12th lowest)
> Median household income: $41,693 (6th lowest)

Just two states’ school systems received less funding per pupil than Tennessee’s, at $8,765 in fiscal 2011. Relative to the country as a whole, the Tennessee school system received less money from the federal government, its localities and especially the state, which provided a mere $4,010 per student — one of the lowest amounts of any state. With such little funding, the system spent a total of just $8,242 per student, including $2,672 per student in support services, fourth lowest in the nation.

For the complete list of the states spending the most and least on education in the nation, please visit 24/7 Wall St. 

 

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