How Much School Spending Goes to Actual Classroom Instruction?
Schools across the nation spent over 60 percent of day-to-day expenditures on classroom instruction in fiscal year 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Public Education Finances: 2015 report released today.
Now, the first thing most people think upon reading this is, “only 60 percent – shouldn’t it all go to classroom instruction?”
The fact is, school systems will always have other expenses, such as student transportation, salaries and employee benefits. We’ll never get to the point where 100 percent is spent on classroom instruction.
Still, it would be nice to get closer, and it’s nice to know how far we have to go. That’s why it’s a good thing Census publishes its Public Education Finances report each year.
The good news from the 2015 report is that school spending priorities are moving in the right direction. The 2015 figure (60%) represents the largest increase since 2008.
Classroom instruction is defined as activities dealing with the interaction between teachers and students in the classroom or other learning situations.
New York and the District of Columbia led the nation in total per student spending on instructional staff salaries at $8,758 and $9,112, respectively.
Nationally, per student spending was $11,392 in fiscal year 2015, a 3.5 percent increase from fiscal year 2014. This amount represents the largest increase in per student spending since 2008 when there was a 6.1 percent increase from the year prior.
Total current expenditures per student include instruction, support services and noninstructional functions, including direct expenditure for salaries, employee benefits, student transportation, building maintenance and other services and supplies.
Per student spending increased for every state, with Alaska and California having the highest percentage increase (9.5 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively), except for Arizona (decreased 0.5 percent).
Public school systems receiving the highest percentage of revenues from the federal government were Louisiana and Mississippi with 14.7 percent, South Dakota with 14.6 percent, Arizona with 13.4 percent and New Mexico with 13.2 percent.
Public school systems receiving the lowest percentage of revenues from the federal government were Connecticut and New Jersey with 4.1 percent, New York with 4.5 percent and Massachusetts with 4.6 percent.
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