Where Does the Money Go? (Hint: Not to teachers)
In the fall of 1997, there were 46,127,194 students in K-12 public schools in the
U.S., with 5,258,671 teachers and instructional staff employed to serve them: one
staff member for every 8.8 students.
At an average salary of $41,598, the total cost of this educational service staff for
the 1997-98 school year was $218.8 billion, just over two-thirds (67.1 percent) of
the $326.0 billion in revenues for K-12 public schools for that year.
Only just over half (52.2 percent) of the 5,258,671 public school support staff
employed in the fall of 1997 were teachers: one teacher for every 16.8 students.
At an average salary of $39,385--less than the average salary of the other support
staff--the total cost of these 2,744,493 teachers for the 1997-98 school year was
$108.1 billion, just one-third (33.2 percent) of the $326.0 billion in revenues for K-12 public schools for that year.
Although there was one teacher for every 16.8 students in U.S. public schools in
the fall of 1997, the average class size in K-12 public schools in 1993-94--the most
recent data available--was approximately 24. Since per-pupil revenue in the 1997-98 school year was $7,067 per student, each class of 24 students represented
revenues of $169,608. With an average salary of $39,385, the teacher teaching that
class received less than a quarter (23.2 percent) of those revenues.