School Spending: Higher Than You Might Think

Annie Holmquist | August 19, 2015

School Spending: Higher Than You Might Think

“Based on your best guess, what is the average amount of money spent each year for a child in public schools in your local school district?”

That’s a question recently asked of thousands of adults in America. Unfortunately, their answers suggest that many don’t have a clue how much money the country spends on education.

Roughly speaking, local school districts spend around $12,000 per child each year. That’s double the dollar amount that most Americans assume is spent.

But that high number of $12,000 actually increases depending on the school district in which one lives. Baltimore City Schools, for instance, spend well over $15,000 per child. Chicago Public Schools increases that number to $18,000 per child. That number keeps climbing in Minneapolis ($22,000 per student), New York City ($25,000 per student), and Newark Public Schools ($29,000 per student).

If districts are spending this much money per student, doesn’t it seem like we should be seeing results better than the continually flat reading, math, and science scores coming out of our nation’s schools?

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