HT logo
by Heytutor Blog
I'm an experienced writer with 10+ years writing experience. Topics include; Educations, Politics, Technology & Other


Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo


Whether students are in school or on summer break, the future of public education funding is always a major topic in the national conversation. In May 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau released the updated Public Elementary-Secondary Education Finance Data for fiscal year 2017. According to the survey, total educational revenue for public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. was $694 billion in 2017, representing an overall increase from $671 billion in 2016. 

How is public education funded?

While a small amount of school funding comes from the federal government, most educational revenue comes from a combination of state sources ($327 billion) and local sources ($312 billion). 



For example, local governments collect property taxes, a portion of which is put towards education. Across the entire U.S., the amount of local property taxes put towards public elementary-secondary education was $203 billion in 2017, making it one of the largest sources of public education funding. With such heavy reliance on property taxes for school funding, impoverished areas generally have less money to spend on their students. However, low-income students require more resources to succeed academically, and experts believe this inequality of educational access ultimately leads to gaps in academic and economic outcomes later in life.

What are funds used for? 

Of the funds spent on public and secondary education, the majority goes toward instruction and administrative support. More specifically, schools spent $326 billion for teacher salaries and benefits in 2017. In addition, $209 billion went to support services, which include general administration, school administration, public transportation, and operations. 


Does funding impact outcomes?

With 48.6 million total students enrolled in public primary and secondary schools in 2017, per pupil spending was $12,201, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to 2016. At the state level, per pupil spending ranges from a high of $23,091 to a low of $7,179 per year.



Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a strong correlation between per pupil spending and teacher salaries across states. The average teacher salary nationwide is $58,950, but the state average varies significantly. For example, the average teacher in South Dakota makes $42,668 per year; whereas the average teacher in New York makes $79,637. 


While teacher salaries are directly affected by school funding, the correlation between student performance and education funding is more complex. Looking at data from fiscal year 2017, states that spend more per student aren’t more likely to have better outcomes. The nationwide high school graduation rate is 84.6 percent, and at the state level, there is no clear correlation with per pupil spending. Academic performance, as measured by test scores in math and reading, also show no correlation with per pupil spending based on data from the Nation’s Report Card



TRENDING ON HEYTUTOR

Did you score well on the SAT? Consider becoming an SAT tutor or browse through our other open tutoring jobs near you.



At first glance, this snapshot of data might suggest that academic performance is independent of spending and that additional investment in education is not needed. However, test scores and graduation rates are not the only measures of academic performance and only looking at a single point in time can’t paint a comprehensive picture of the variety of factors at play. A large body of academic research suggests that more funding does have positive effects on student outcomes.


A 2015 study of school finance reforms found that a 10 percent increase in per pupil spending each year for all 12 years of public school results in 0.31 more completed years of education, 7 percent higher wages, and a 3.2 percentage point reduction in adult poverty. The effects were much more pronounced for low-income students, who tend to have lower levels of literacy, higher dropout rates, and lower matriculation rates.


A 2017 report released by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy indicated that increased funding can be effective for student outcomes when applied to a particular set of conditions, such as reducing class sizes or creating more educational opportunities for disadvantaged students. The same study also suggests that funding dual enrollment programs, in which high school students take courses for college credit, have been proven to increase academic achievement. A 2018 report by the Learning Policy Institute reached similar conclusions, underscoring the importance of applying school funding strategically to yield the best student outcomes.


Given this body of research and large disparities in educational spending among states, HeyTutor wanted to find which states invest the most and least per student on public education. HeyTutor’s researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, and the Nation’s Report Card. They looked at per pupil spending as well as academic performance across all states.


The states spending the most on public education tend to be located in the Northeast, while those spending the least are located in the West or the South. Here are the states spending the most and least on public education:

States spending the most on public education


Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. New York

  • Total spending per student: $23,091

  • Instructional spending per student: $16,113

  • Support services spending per student: $6,480

  • Total spending: $63.62 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $79,637

  • Graduation rate: 81.8%

  • Academic performance: Average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. District of Columbia

  • Total spending per student: $21,974

  • Instructional spending per student: $12,195

  • Support services spending per student: $8,930

  • Total spending: $1.15 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $76,131

  • Graduation rate: 73.2%

  • Academic performance: Significantly below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Connecticut

  • Total spending per student: $19,322

  • Instructional spending per student: $11,861

  • Support services spending per student: $6,775

  • Total spending: $9.92 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $72,561

  • Graduation rate: 87.9%

  • Academic performance: Above average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. New Jersey

  • Total spending per student: $18,920

  • Instructional spending per student: $11,076

  • Support services spending per student: $7,208

  • Total spending: $27.45 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $69,623

  • Graduation rate: 90.5%

  • Academic performance: Significantly above average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Vermont

  • Total spending per student: $18,290

  • Instructional spending per student: $11,039

  • Support services spending per student: $6,743

  • Total spending: $1.69 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $60,187

  • Graduation rate: 89.1%

  • Academic performance: Significantly above average



DID YOU KNOW?

Becoming a tutor is a great way to make money on the side. We have dozens of open tutoring jobs near you. Two of our most popular tutoring services are english tutoring and math tutoring.




Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Alaska

  • Total spending per student: $17,838

  • Instructional spending per student: $9,538

  • Support services spending per student: $7,638

  • Total spending: $2.38 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $68,138

  • Graduation rate: 78.2%

  • Academic performance: Below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Wyoming

  • Total spending per student: $16,537

  • Instructional spending per student: $9,779

  • Support services spending per student: $6,265

  • Total spending: $1.56 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $58,650

  • Graduation rate: 86.2%

  • Academic performance: Above average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Massachusetts

  • Total spending per student: $16,197

  • Instructional spending per student: $10,060

  • Support services spending per student: $5,620

  • Total spending: $16.11 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $77,804

  • Graduation rate: 88.3%

  • Academic performance: Significantly above average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Rhode Island

  • Total spending per student: $15,943

  • Instructional spending per student: $9,299

  • Support services spending per student: $6,193

  • Total spending: $2.31 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $66,477

  • Graduation rate: 84.1%

  • Academic performance: Below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Pennsylvania

  • Total spending per student: $15,798

  • Instructional spending per student: $9,719

  • Support services spending per student: $5,474

  • Total spending: $27.51 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $65,863

  • Graduation rate: 86.6%

  • Academic performance: Above average



TRENDING ON HEYTUTOR

It can be a challenge to find a good tutor. HeyTutor provides families with a network of local and online tutors that are subject experts. Test prep is one of our most popular services, including GRE tutoring, LSAT tutoring, and MCAT tutoring


States spending the least on public education


Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. Utah

  • Total spending per student: $7,179

  • Instructional spending per student: $4,594

  • Support services spending per student: $2,173

  • Total spending: $4.28 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $47,244

  • Graduation rate: 86.0%

  • Academic performance: Above average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Idaho

  • Total spending per student: $7,486

  • Instructional spending per student: $4,435

  • Support services spending per student: $2,667

  • Total spending: $2.09 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $47,504

  • Graduation rate: 79.7%

  • Academic performance: Above average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Oklahoma

  • Total spending per student: $7,940

  • Instructional spending per student: $4,447

  • Support services spending per student: $2,913

  • Total spending: $5.34 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $45,245

  • Graduation rate: 82.6%

  • Academic performance: Below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. Arizona

  • Total spending per student: $8,003

  • Instructional spending per student: $4,308

  • Support services spending per student: $3,260

  • Total spending: $7.63 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $47,403

  • Graduation rate: 78.0%

  • Academic performance: Average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Mississippi

  • Total spending per student: $8,771

  • Instructional spending per student: $4,971

  • Support services spending per student: $3,235

  • Total spending: $4.24 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $42,925

  • Graduation rate: 83.0%

  • Academic performance: Significantly below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. North Carolina

  • Total spending per student: $9,072

  • Instructional spending per student: $5,712

  • Support services spending per student: $2,888

  • Total spending: $13.29 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $49,837

  • Graduation rate: 86.6%

  • Academic performance: Average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Florida

  • Total spending per student: $9,075

  • Instructional spending per student: $5,593

  • Support services spending per student: $3,012

  • Total spending: $26.00 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $49,407

  • Graduation rate: 82.3%

  • Academic performance: Average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Tennessee

  • Total spending per student: $9,184

  • Instructional spending per student: $5,584

  • Support services spending per student: $3,090

  • Total spending: $9.27 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $48,456

  • Graduation rate: 89.8%

  • Academic performance: Below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Nevada

  • Total spending per student: $9,320

  • Instructional spending per student: $5,472

  • Support services spending per student: $3,467

  • Total spending: $4.15 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $57,376

  • Graduation rate: 80.9%

  • Academic performance: Below average



Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Texas

  • Total spending per student: $9,375

  • Instructional spending per student: $5,542

  • Support services spending per student: $3,338

  • Total spending: $48.03 billion

  • Average teacher salary: $52,575

  • Graduation rate: 89.7%

  • Academic performance: Below average


Methodology & full results

Spending and enrollment statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 Annual Survey of School System Finances, released in 2019. Average teacher salaries and graduation rates are from the National Center for Education Statistics. The graduation rate shown is the high school 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate. Academic performance is derived from the Math and Reading assessments of the Nation’s Report Card. 


All of the data is for public elementary and secondary schools only. States are ordered by the per student spending for 2017.

Top Posts

Education: In Person Tutoring vs Group Tutoring by Heytutor Blog
Education: How To Get Into The Best Colleges by Heytutor Blog
Education: Does Going to College Matter? by Heytutor Blog
Education: The Advantages of Final Exam Tutoring by Heytutor Blog

More Articles to Read

Education

The Most Popular Six-Figure Jobs

To find the most popular jobs paying six-figure salaries, researchers at HeyTutor analyzed the most recent wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education

States Suffering the Most From Student Loan Debt

Education has long been considered the path to financial success but sharp tuition increases and comparatively slow wage growth have left many U.S. college graduates struggling to pay off their debt.

Education

The Best Paying Cities for Software Developers

To identify the best paying cities, HeyTutor created a cost-of-living adjusted salary for software developers based on regional differences in the price of goods and services. Cities were then ranked.