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Public Education Costs per Pupil by State Rankings
The United States spent an average of $10,615 per pupil educating its young people in the nation’s elementary-secondary school systems in 2010. According to the report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, that translates into a small (1.1%) increase in per-pupil spending over 2009.
Where do schools get their money?
Schools are financed from three main sources, including local, state and federal funds. For the 2009-2010 school year, total school revenues were 593.7 billion dollars. Broken down by revenue sources, here is how that total was reached:
- Local Revenues: $261.4 billion (44% of total revenues)
- State Revenues: $258.3 billion (43.5% of total revenues)
- Federal Revenues: $74 billion (12.5% of total revenues)
Where are schools spending their money?
Of the 602.6 billion dollars in budget spending by U.S. schools in the 2009-2010 school year, a relatively small amount, $19.3 billion, was spent on interest on debt and payments to other governments. Additionally, less than 10% ($56.1 billion) was spent on construction, land, existing structures and equipment. By far the largest amount (88.5%) was spent on a broad category called “current spending”. The $527.2 billion that falls into this category is divided as follows:
- $317.8 billion: Instruction
- $48.7 billion: Operation and Maintenance
- $28.6 billion: Pupil Support Services
- $27.8 billion: School Administration
- $27.1 billion: Other Current Spending
- $24.8 billion: Instructional Staff Support Services
- $22.1 billion: Pupil Transportation
- $17.5 billion: Other and Non-specified Support Services
- $9.6 billion: General Administration.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a bubble chart to illustrate these total income and expense areas.
Costs per Pupil by State
Public Education by state rankings show that the District of Columbia spent the most per pupil at $18,687. The next top five are New York ($18,618), New Jersey ($16,841), Alaska ($15,783), Vermont ($15,274) and Wyoming ($15,169).
The states spending the least on a per-pupil basis are Oklahoma ($7,896), Arizona ($7,848), Idaho ($7,106) and Utah ($6,064).
Other notes of interest:
- All nine states in the Northeast Region made the top 15 of per-pupil student spending.
- Of 16 states with the lowest spending, 15 were in the South Region or the West Region.
- Public school systems in North Dakota, Mississippi and New Mexico got more of their funding from the Federal Government.
Below is a complete list of public education by state rankings on a per-pupil spending basis. States are listed alphabetically:
District of Columbia 18,667
New Hampshire 12, 383
New Jersey 16,841
New Mexico 9,384
New York 18,618
North Carolina 8,409
North Dakota 10,991
Rhode Island 13,699
South Carolina 9,143
South Dakota 8,858
West Virginia 11,527
Specific budget spending details on a state-by-state basis can be accessed at the U.S. Census Bureau website.< show all "Classroom Resources" articles