Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho Spends Less On Public School Students Than 48 Other States

U.S. Census Bureau

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Idaho spent $3,500 less than average on each public school student in fiscal year 2010 according to new Census data released today.

On average, public school systems across the U.S. spent $10,615 per student, while Idaho spent $7,106 from 2009-2010. That puts Idaho among states spending the least on elementary and secondary public school kids.

Public schools in the District of Columbia spent the most per students, at $18,667 in 2010.  D.C. was followed by New York ($18,618), New Jersey ($16,841), Alaska ($15,783), Vermont ($15,274) and Wyoming ($15,169).

Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Oklahoma spent the least per student from 2009-2010, respectively.

Here’s how Idaho compares to neighboring states:

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The Census report on public school finances includes data on how schools are funded, providing a break down of federal, state, and local spending.  It also shows what schools spent their money on, including transportation, salaries and benefits.

Schools relied more on federal funding from 2009-2010, due in large part to stimulus funds.  The Census report sums up the decrease in state spending this way:

“Revenue from state sources decreased by $18.0 billion, a 6.5 percent decrease from 2009. This is the largest decrease in state funding from the prior year since the Census Bureau began publishing school system finance statistics on an annual basis in 1977 and only the second year since 1977 in which state funding decreased from the prior year (revenue from state sources also decreased 1.7 percent between 2008 and 2009).” – Census Bureau

In April, the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy released a report that documents shifts in funding for Idaho schools over the last 30 years.  That report shows that as state public school spending has declined, school districts’ reliance on levies has increased.

Last month, StateImpact reported on the small town of Rockland, Idaho, population 318.  The district has seen a 20 percent decline in state funding in the last three years, according to the state Department of Education, and it has the highest levy rate in the state.


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