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Plugged In

The Cost Of Doing Business

August 2007

School spending is on the rise across the country.

The nation’s public school districts spent an average of $8,701 per student on elementary and secondary education in fiscal year 2005, up five percent from $8,287 the previous year, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. New York spent $14,119 per student—the highest amount among states and state equivalents. Utah spent the least per student, with $5,257. Seven of the top 10 with the highest per-pupil expenditures were in the Northeast. All 10 of the states with the lowest spending per student were in the West or the South.

• The $214.6 billion schools received from local sources included $186.5 billion from taxes and local government appropriations.

• School construction spending totaled $41.8 billion nationwide, with California ($8.7 billion) and Texas ($4.7 billion) combined accounting for almost one-third of this amount.

• Alaska led all states or state equivalents in the proportion of its public school system revenue coming from the federal government (18.9 percent). Hawaii led all states in proportion from state sources, at 87.4 percent; Vermont’s share was 87.2 percent.

Source: 2005 annual survey of local government finances. The tabulations contain data on revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets for all individual public elementary and secondary school systems.

For the full report, go to

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