Census Bureau Releases New Public Education Finance Data
June 2, 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.
Today’s 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.
“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.
· Instructional expenditures
o Expenditures for instruction amounted to $321.3 billion (60.6 percent) of total current spending.
o Instructional salaries are the largest expenditure category for public elementary and secondary education, which accounted for 34.9 percent or $208.0 billion.
· Support services expenditures
o Expenditures for support services amounted to $181.7 billion, a 1.0 percent increase from the prior year.
o Expenditures on student transportation were $23.4 billion, a 1.2 percent increase from the prior year.
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.