When it comes to choosing a place to live, most parents select their home with a wary eye cast toward the schools the neighborhood offers. Although it’s not often uttered outright, conventional wisdom suggests that the more expensive your neighborhood – or the more property taxes you pay – the better the schools.
But schools are not only funded by local taxpayer dollars; they are also financed by state and federal spending. With all those financial sources in mind, one might well wonder which state is the most likely to hand out the largest amount of money for a student to attend school.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Education provides us with that information. Based upon data from the 2013-2014 school year, the Education Department found that New York provides the cushiest offerings with $19,901 dollars being spent on every student. The District of Columbia, Alaska, and New Jersey are close behind.
These numbers are particularly interesting when compared to state spending per student from nearly a generation ago. During the 1999-2000 school year, the Department of Education placed some of the same states in the top spending bracket, but with a much lower price tag than the one they wear today:
“Three states—New Jersey ($10,337), New York ($9,846), and Connecticut ($9,753)—expended more than $9,000 per pupil. The District of Columbia, which comprises a single urban district, spent $10,107 per pupil. Only one state, Utah, had expenditures of less than $4,500 for each pupil in membership ($4,378).”
As was the case in 2000, Utah is this year’s winner for the lowest spender. But unlike the big spenders in the chart above, it hasn’t seen its costs soar to such drastic heights. It has charted roughly a $2,000 increase in the intervening years instead of the $7,000+ seen by the states above.
It’s not uncommon to hear that today’s schools are failing because they need more funds. But given the above statistics from nearly 20 percent of the nation’s states, does it seem like school spending is not as meager as it’s been made out to be?
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