Week of September 5, 2016
Bruce Beemer Unanimously Confirmed as Attorney General
Pathways to Pardons: Empowering with Knowledge to Help Improve Lives
Column: Funding Education
Advocates continued to cite the Costing-Out Study to increase education spending – even though they couldn’t fully explain the study’s use of “hypothetical school districts” and why it didn’t focus on low cost/high performance schools.
Over the past 10 years, education funding has grown from $9.93 Billion to $11.78 Billion (nearly a 17% increase). Today, this translates to $32,277,643.84 spent a day, $1,344,901.83 an hour, $22,415.03 a minute, and $373.58 a second (not counting local and federal moneys).
A recent “Governing” magazine for states and localities compared education spending among states. The most recent data (2014) indicates $11,009 is spent on public education per student (elementary and secondary schools).
Pennsylvania ranked #12 for spending ($13,961 per student) – after: New York ($20,610 per student), Washington DC ($18,485), Alaska ($18,416), New Jersey ($17,907), Connecticut ($17,745), Vermont ($16,988), Wyoming ($15,797), Massachusetts ($15,087), Rhode Island ($14,767), New Hampshire ($14,335), and Maryland ($14,003).
Utah ($6,500 per student), Idaho ($6,621), Arizona ($7,528), Oklahoma ($7,829), and Mississippi ($8,263) were the five lowest spending states in support of public education.
“Governing” notes several factors in explaining variations in states’ education spending: revenues, salaries, employee benefits, cost of living, demographics, class sizes, administrative costs, and state and local policy.
According to “Governing”, school spending is more a function of moneys available, rather than actual costs to educate students: “Schools in areas more reliant on state funding than on local property taxes generally have fewer total dollars available to them, but there’s more equity across their districts. The largest spending spikes are found in districts serving regions with high-property values.”
“Governing” notes wage and salary expenses also vary, with New York spending the most ($8,712 per student), followed by Connecticut and New Jersey: “Districts employing more experienced teachers or more teachers with advanced degrees spend significantly more on salaries.”
Pensions, health insurance, tuition reimbursement, and other benefits represent another sizeable portion of education spending. Employee benefits account for about $1,700 in spending per pupil nationally and are as high as $4,127 per student in Alaska and $4,660 in New York.
States with higher costs of living also tend to spend more on education. However, Rhode Island and Wyoming are states near the top of education spending with cost of living indexes below the national average.
Demographics also play a role in education spending as states with more young residents have special challenges and more rural states tend to incur greater school transportation costs.
Class size also impacts school spending. Nevada has the largest average class size nationally: 31 students – nearly twice some other states. Maine, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming reported fewer than 18 students per class.
While administrative costs account for a small portion of total education spending (about 7%), there is considerable variation: Washington DC and 13 states spend more than $1,000 per student while Utah and Arizona spend $463 and $450 per student respectively. Massachusetts and New York spend the least on administration while New Mexico spends the highest portion of education dollars on administrative costs.
States employ varying funding formulas, mandates, and other requirements that affect school spending. Pennsylvania is guided by Article III, Section 14 of its Constitution: “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”
Disability Employment Outreach Day
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