SRN Just the Facts: Education Statistics

SRN Just the Facts: Education Statistics
February 1, 2001

On average, the U.S. spends $6,168 per student in public schools, according to the
latest official data from the U.S. Department of Education, which are for the school
year 1997-98. Even those data involve the use of a preliminary estimate of $285.5
billion for the educational expenditures for 1997-98, according to the current issue
of Digest of Education Statistics: 1999 issued by the National Center for Education
Statistics (NCES).

While these official figures frequently are cited in education policy discussions, the
data have two serious limitations:

  • The data already are more than two years out-of-date; and
  • Using expenditures, rather than total public school revenues, significantly
    understates the level of tax dollars committed to support public education.

For example, the U.S. Department of Education's preliminary estimate of total
revenues for public elementary and secondary public schools in the U.S. for 1997-98 is $326.0 billion--14 percent higher than reported as the expenditures on public
education for the same year. The difference between the two figures is largely
accounted for by capital expenditures and debt service, which are not included in
the so-called "current expenditures" figure reported for public school spending.
Total public school revenues is a better measure of the tax dollars appropriated for
public education than the current expenditures figure.

NCES's Office of Educational Research and Improvement does address the issue of
out-of-date data, and in May of last year it published Early Estimates of Public
Elementary and Secondary Education Statistics: School Year 1999-2000
. These
early estimates showed that for the 1999-2000 school year, public school revenues
increased 5.2 percent over 1998-99 to a record $354.4 billion, or an average of
$7,577 for every student in public schools. The reporting gap between public school
expenditures and public school revenues widened to 15 percent, with current
expenditures for 1999-2000 reported at $308.0 billion--less than the revenues
reported two years earlier.

NCES revenue estimates by state for K-12 public education for 1999-2000--on a
total dollar basis and on a per-pupil basis--are shown in the table below. Only five
states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Utah) show per-pupil
revenues less than $6,000 per student, while three (Connecticut, New Jersey, and
New York) show per-pupil revenues that exceed $10,000 per student.

 

Operating Statistics for K-12 Public Schools
(Digest of Education Statistics: 1999)

<----------------------------------------------1997-1998------------------------------------------->

1999-2000
Revenue Per
Student
(Early
Estimate)
Revenue Per
Student
Pupil/

Teacher

Ratio
Fall
'97
Pupil/Staff
Ratio
Total
Revenue
(000)
Fall '97
Number
of
Teachers
Fall '97
Number
of Staff
Average
Teacher
Salary
Average Staff
Salary
$7,577 United States $7,067 16.8 8.8 $325,976,011 2,744,493 5,258,671 $39,385 $41,598
$5,936 Alabama $5,535 16.3 8.7 $4,146,629 45,973 85,951 $32,818 $34,040
$9,747 Alaska $9,222 17.3 8.8 $1,218,425 7,625 14,952 $51,738 $53,154
$6,014 Arizona $5,812 19.8 10.1 $4,731,675 41,129 80,907 $33,850 $44,819
$5,800 Arkansas $5,697 16.9 8.9 $2,600,655 26,932 51,272 $30,578 $31,852
$7,049 California $6,572 21.6 11.8 $38,142,613 268,581 493,837 $43,725 $45,610
$6,483 Colorado $6,297 18.2 9.5 $4,327,326 37,840 72,247 $37,052 $38,280
$10,702 Connecticut $9,643 14.2 7.3 $5,160,728 37,658 73,529 $50,730 $52,480
$9,703 Delaware $8,160 16.3 8.9 $913,616 6,850 12,554 $42,439 $44,169
$9,833 District of Columbia $9,168 17.5 8.9 $706,935 4,399 8,706 $46,350 $42,068
$7,007 Florida $6,533 18.4 9.0 $14,988,118 124,473 256,313 $34,475 $35,594
$7,048 Georgia $6,571 16.2 8.7 $9,041,434 157,593 $37,378 $39,210
$7,142 Hawaii $6,755 17.8 11.1 $1,282,702 85,005 17,117 $38,377 $39,751
$6,425 Idaho $5,404 18.5 10.6 $1,320,647 10,653 23,100 $32,775 $34,277
$7,336 Illinois $7,103 16.8 8.7 $14,194,654 13,207 228,599 $43,873 $45,499
$7,986 Indiana $7,609 17.2 8.1 $7,513,407 118,734 121,748 $39,682 $40,905
$7,221 Iowa $6,679 15.3 7.8 $3,346,481 57,371 64,261 $34,040 $35,277
$7,057 Kansas $6,662 14.9 7.9 $3,122,238 32,717 59,603 $36,811 $39,219
$7,052 Kentucky $5,875 16.5 7.5 $3,932,068 31,527 88,996 $34,525 $34,525
$6,796 Louisiana $5,786 16.0 7.9 $4,494,429 40,488 98,537 $29,650 $30,346
$8,040 Maine $7,531 13.5 7.0 $1,600,635 48,599 30,534 $34,349 $35,484
$8,178 Maryland $7,770 17.2 9.5 $6,454,696 15,700 87,367 $41,739 $43,618
$8,588 Massachusetts $8,318 14.1 7.8 $7,893,657 48,318 121,359 $43,930 $55,630
$8,678 Michigan $8,416 18.8 8.4 $14,329,715 67,170 202,128 $49,277 $58,228
$7,975 Minnesota $7,649 16.4 8.8 $6,529,420 90,529 97,365 $39,106 $40,320
$5,193 Mississippi $4,770 17.1 8.2 $2,407,954 51,998 61,693 $29,547 $29,857
$7,059 Missouri $6,594 15.0 $6,005,256 29,441 107,681 $33,975 $35,657
$6,363 Montana $6,345 15.9 8.5 $1,029,939 60,869 18,993 $30,617 $32,536
$6,634 Nebraska $6,711 14.5 8.5 $1,964,205 10,228 37,851 $32,668 $35,800
$6,639 Nevada $6,442 18.5 7.7 $1,910,794 20,139 27,830 $37,093 $39,002
$7,587 New Hampshire $6,770 15.6 10.7 $1,364,943 16,053 24,778 $36,640 $44,234
$11,315 New Jersey $10,550 13.9 8.1 $13,189,983 12,931 166,796 $50,442 $53,196
$6,464 New Mexico $5,887 16.9 7.5 $1,952,452 89,671 39,920 $30,152 $31,580
$10,621 New York $9,708 15.0 8.3 $27,782,468 19,647 374,182 $49,034 $49,647
$6,576 North Carolina $5,816 15.9 7.6 $7,188,615 190,874 149,229 $33,315 $34,584
$6,044 North Dakota $5,755 14.7 8.3 $682,419 77,785 14,862 $28,230 $28,438
$7,898 Ohio $7,286 16.7 8.0 $13,458,095 8,070 203,073 $38,977 $40,345
$6,409 Oklahoma $5,478 15.5 9.1 $3,416,296 110,757 69,294 $30,606 $32,164
$7,469 Oregon $7,175 20.1 9.0 $3,883,939 40,215 53,094 $42,150 $43,652
$9,128 Pennsylvania $8,174 16.8 10.2 $14,837,945 26,935 205,642 $47,650 $48,701
$8,385 Rhode Island $8,245 14.5 8.8 $1,264,156 108,014 17,197 $44,300 $45,504
$7,171 South Carolina $6,151 15.6 8.9 $4,055,072 10,598 78,951 $33,608 $35,238
$6,567 South Dakota $5,576 15.3 8.4 $794,256 42,336 16,846 $27,341 $28,365
$5,638 Tennessee $5,393 16.5 8.5 $4,815,833 9,282 102,349 $35,340 $36,700
$6,664 Texas $6,213 15.3 8.7 $24,179,060 54,142 492,932 $33,648 $36,158
$5,120 Utah $4,774 22.9 7.9 $2,305,397 254,557 39,630 $32,950 $34,247
$8,720 Vermont $8,130 13.4 12.2 $861,643 21,115 16,388 $36,299 $36,299
$6,312 Virginia $6,984 14.7 6.5 $7,757,954 7,909 142,567 $36,654 $37,458
$7,461 Washington $6,957 20.2 7.8 $6,895,693 75,524 92,338 $38,788 $40,624
$8,170 West Virginia $7,355 14.4 10.7 $2,216,984 49,074 38,499 $33,398 $34,564
$8,714 Wisconsin $8,006 15.4 7.8 $7,059,759 20,947 103,900 $39,899 $42,750
$8,174 Wyoming $7,229 14.5 8.5 $702,001 57,227 13,581 $32,022 $32,979