The Education Dollar: A Look at Spending and Funding Trends

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ALBANY, NY (09/14/2015)(readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) released an analysis of school district spending and funding today. The study identified that school spending moderated considerably since 2009 (the onset of the Great Recession) and continued under the Tax Cap. The report also highlights the continued disparity in resources between high and low need districts despite several years of school aid increases.

In 2013-14, a total of $60 billion in federal, state and local resources was spent to support our 679 public school districts, equating to $21,812 per pupil for approximately three million students. This represents a $2 billion or 3% increase over the previous year (2012-13). Of this support, $9,026 per pupil came from the state. Over the past decade the local share (mostly property taxes) of school district funding has grown four percent, while the state and federal shares have each declined two percent.

Between 1994 and 2008, school spending grew at a rate of 5.6 percent annually. Since 2009, the rate slowed to 2.2 percent over the next five years. Instructional costs (teacher salaries and benefits) have remained steady during a ten year period at approximately 77% of overall spending, despite the fact that teacher pension costs grew 181 percent during the same period. Other significant increases in spending occurred in health care costs at 72 percent and tuition (e.g. special ed) at 94 percent.

The disparity between high need and low need districts has remained virtually unchanged over the last five years. In 2007-08, there was a $5,541 gap between what low need districts and high need districts spent per pupil. In 2012-13, that gap dipped slightly to $5,358 per pupil (or $183).

"The state share of education funding is still below pre-recession levels despite recent increases in school aid demonstrating a need for further state investment," said Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO's Executive Director. "The disparity between high and low need districts remains troubling to efforts to improve student achievement for all students. The state needs to not only end the GEA, but make a serious down payment on funding the Foundation Aid formula developed in 2007 that was meant to address the inequity between high and low need districts," stated Mr. Borges.

This report and previous studies on school finance issues can be found at .