By Stephen Q. Cornman and Lauren Musu-Gillette
Revenues and expenditures increased in public K-12 education for the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year data is available, according to a recently released report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The report shows that, nationally, spending on elementary and secondary education increased in school year 2013–14, reversing a decline in spending for the previous four years.
The First Look report, Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2013–14 (Fiscal Year 2014) is based on data from the National Public Education Finance Survey (NPEFS), a component of the Common Core of Data (CCD).
The amount of money spent, per pupil, in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools rose to $11,066 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.[i] That is a 1.2 percent increase over the previous year (FY 2013), after adjusting for inflation. Although spending per student has increased overall from 2002–03 to 2013–14, it had decreased each year from 2008–09 to 2012–13 In order to compare spending from one year to the next, expenditures are converted to constant dollars, which adjusts figures for inflation.
NOTE: Spending is reported in constant 2014–15 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "National Public Education Financial Survey," 2002–03 through 2012–13. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 236.65.
At the state level, spending per student ranged from a low of $6,546 in Utah to $20,577 in the District of Columbia (D.C.). In addition to the District of Columbia, current expenditures per pupil exceeded $15,000 in eight states:
- New York ($20,156);
- New Jersey ($18,780);
- Alaska ($18,466);
- Connecticut ($18,401);
- Vermont ($18,066);
- Wyoming ($15,903);
- Massachusetts ($15,886); and
- Rhode Island ($15,372).
Current expenditures per pupil increased by 1 percent or more in 25 states between FY 13 and FY 14.
Current Expenditures per pupil for public elementary and secondary education, by state: Fiscal Year 2014
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “National Public Education Financial Survey
The report also presents national and state level data on public school funding by source.[ii] In FY 2014, total revenues per pupil averaged $12,460 nationally, an increase of 1.1 percent from FY 2013. This reversed a decrease of 1.1 percent between FY 2012 and FY 2013. Total revenues increased by 1.6 percent (from $613.2 to $623.2 billion) from FY 13 to FY 14, local revenues increased by 0.5 percent (from $279.0 to $280.5 billion), state revenues increased by 3.9 percent (from $277.5 to $288.2 billion), and federal revenues decreased by 3.9 percent (from $56.7 to $54.5 billion), after adjusting for inflation.
The percentage of total funding from federal sources accounted for 9 percent of total funding in both 2002–03 and 2012–13; however, there were notable fluctuations during this period. The federal percentage increased from 8 percent of funding 2007–08 to 13 percent of funding in 2010–11. This increase reflects, in part, the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As the funds from the program were spent, the federal percentage of total funding decreased to 10 percent in 2011–12 and to 8.7 percent in 2013–14. Local sources accounted for 45 percent of total funding in 2013–14. The percentage of total funding from state sources decreased from 49 percent in school year 2002–03 to 46 percent in school year 2013–14.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "National Public Education Financial Survey," 2002–03 through 2012–13. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 235.10.
[i] Spending refers to current expenditures. Current expenditures are comprised of expenditures for the day-to-day operation of schools and school districts for public elementary and secondary education, including expenditures for staff salaries and benefits, supplies, and purchased services. Current expenditures include instruction, instruction-related, support services (e.g., social work, health, and psychological services), and other elementary/secondary current expenditures, but exclude expenditures on capital outlay, other programs, and interest on long-term debt.
[ii] Funding refers to revenues. Revenues are comprised of all funds received from external sources, net of refunds, and correcting transactions. Noncash transactions, such as receipt of services, commodities, or other receipts in kind are excluded, as are funds received from the issuance of debt, liquidation of investments, and nonroutine sale of property.