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School District Spending Holds Steady, Says Survey

From guest blogger Alyssa Morones


Even while school districts continue to tighten their belts and make program cuts, the latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that the median expenditure per student for all of the nation's school districts did not decline during the 2009-10 school year. Instead, that figure rose by 1 percent from the previous year, even though the median amount of total funds schools received per student from their districts, the state, and the federal government only increased by 0.8 percent.

Federal statisticians gathered the new spending data from the School District Finance Survey of the Common Core Data survey system, which uses information submitted by state education agencies each year to take a snapshot of funding and expenditures for schools across the nation.

New York City schools spent the most on students, averaging $19,184 for each pupil. The Big Apple was followed by Boston city schools, which spent $19,169, and then Montgomery County schools in Maryland, which spent $14,711 per student. In comparison, Utah's Alpine school district spent less than a third of what New York spent on its students, with expenditures of $5,528 for each pupil.

Local agencies fueled the biggest portion of the $599.9 billion in funds that schools received for the 2009-10 school year, contributing $265.8 billion, or 44.3 percent of school spending. State governments accounted for $258.9 billion, 43.1 percent of the money received by schools. Funds from the federal government accounted for 12.5 percent, or $75.3 billion—up 32.7 percent from the previous school year.

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