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States with the highest and lowest education spending

  • States with the highest and lowest education spending

    Education spending among developed nations is increasing. However, the United States is not following this trend. From 2010 to 2014 the country decreased its education spending by 3%, despite student population growth during the same time period. As a result, every U.S. student is receiving an average of 4% less in funding. Overall, the United States spends $11,762 per pupil, with 60.9% going toward instruction and 34.9% going toward pupil support.

    While education spending is declining countrywide, it is not a clear representation of spending trends across all 50 states. Using data from the 2016 U.S. Census, Stacker compiled a list of states spending the most and the least on education. The information is based on public education expenditures per pupil, which consists of funds going toward school-related salaries, benefits, purchased services, tuition, and supplies.

    Click through the slideshow to discover which states spend the least and most on education.

    ALSO: Highest paying metros for elementary school teachers

  • #50. Utah

    Current expenditures per pupil: $6,953 (40.9% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 64.2% (#4 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 30.2% (#47 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 8% (#27 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 51.2% (#24 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 40.8% (#25 highest rate among all states)

    Utah has the lowest K-12 education spending of all the states, 40.9% below the national average. Despite this, Utah's public high school graduation rate is 85.2%, slightly above the U.S. average of 84.1%.

  • #49. Idaho

    Current expenditures per pupil: $7,157 (39.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 59.6% (#24 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 35% (#32 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 10.6% (#15 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 64.2% (#8 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 25.2% (#45 highest rate among all states)

    With 59.6% of its small education budget spent on instruction, Idaho struggles with teacher retention. Annually, 10% of teachers must be replaced, costing the state $6.8 million a year. In 2017, 80% of teachers who left their schools were not doing so to retire. Rather, they left for graduate school or for a different position.

  • #48. Arizona

    Current expenditures per pupil: $7,613 (35.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 53.6% (#50 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 40.8% (#2 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 13.8% (#2 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 40.8% (#36 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 45.4% (#21 highest rate among all states)

    From 2008 to 2015, Arizona cut per-pupil education funding by 36.6%, more than any other state in the country in that time frame. Currently, the state spends more than $4,000 less per student than the national average.

  • #47. Oklahoma

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,097 (31.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 55.9% (#46 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.9% (#20 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.3% (#11 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 47.7% (#26 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 41% (#24 highest rate among all states)

    Oklahoma teachers receive an average salary of $42,460, the lowest in the United States. In 2018, Oklahoma teachers held a nine-day strike to protest their wages as well as poor school funding.

  • #46. Mississippi

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,702 (26% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 56.9% (#41 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 36.7% (#21 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 14.6% (#1 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 50.8% (#25 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 34.6% (#34 highest rate among all states)

    Mississippi is spending 26% less on education than the national average and this adds up. A 2015 high school senior in Mississippi received $104,112 in funding throughout his or her public education while the average student in the United States received $137,467.

  • #45. North Carolina

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,792 (25.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 62.7% (#5 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 31.9% (#46 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.6% (#8 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 61.6% (#12 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 26.8% (#44 highest rate among all states)

    Not only is there a 25.3% gap between North Carolina's education spending and that of the national average, there is another gap between spending in North Carolina's poorer wealthier counties. In 2015, the highest-spending county spent 12 times as much per student than the lowest-spending.

  • #44. Tennessee

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,810 (25.1% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.4% (#12 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33.1% (#42 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.5% (#9 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 46% (#29 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 42.6% (#23 highest rate among all states)

    The debacle over state education spending in Tennessee is headed to court. Two of the largest school districts in Tennessee are suing the state, claiming it is not doing enough to provide an adequate education for its students, especially those living in urban areas. If the school districts win, Tennessee might be required to increase its education spending.

  • #43. Florida

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,920 (24.2% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.4% (#11 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33.5% (#40 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 11.2% (#12 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 39% (#43 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 49.8% (#16 highest rate among all states)

    Florida also faces litigation for its lack of education spending. A group of parents contend that the Florida Board of Education does not meet the constitutional requirement of providing a uniform and high-quality education. In its ninth year, Citizens for Strong Schools vs. Florida Board of Education is in the hands of the Florida Supreme Court.

  • #42. Nevada

    Current expenditures per pupil: $8,960 (23.8% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 57.8% (#37 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 38% (#12 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 9% (#20 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 62.9% (#9 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 28.2% (#42 highest rate among all states)

    Since 2017, Nevada has had the largest classroom size. Some high school classes have as many as 50 students. Those working toward smaller classroom sizes think it's necessary to increase Nevada's state education funding, which provides 62.9% of their funding sources.

  • #41. Texas

    Current expenditures per pupil: $9,016 (23.3% below national average)
    Instruction spending: 61.2% (#15 highest rate among all states)
    Student support spending: 33.3% (#41 highest rate among all states)

    Funding sources
    —Federal funding: 10.2% (#17 highest rate among all states)
    —State funding: 37.9% (#45 highest rate among all states)
    —Local funding: 51.9% (#14 highest rate among all states)

    Texas spends only $9,016 per student, 23.3% below the national average. Most students from highly rated Texas high schools do not score well enough on college entrance exams to earn exemptions from remedial coursework.

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