NY inching up towards $20k per pupil

by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

schoolbus2Spending by New York State’s public schools averaged $19,818 per pupil in 2012-13—once again topping the nation—according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The difference between school spending in New York and in other states continued to get wider in 2012-13—reaching 85 percent above the $10,700 per pupil U.S. average, up from 63 percent above average in 2005-06.

New York’s public elementary and secondary schools (excluding charter schools) had 2.6 million pupils and spent a total of $59.4 billion — exceeded only by California, which spent $66.4 billion on a public school system with 6.2 million pupils.

School spending in New York was driven primarily by instructional salaries and benefits — which, at $13,756 per pupil, were 112 percent above the national average of $6,480, the census data show.

In the category of “support services,” including central and school administration, New York ranked seventh with spending of $5,646 per pupil. That was 50 percent above the national average—but if New York had only spent the national average in the support category, it still would have had the second highest total per-pupil spending in the country (after otherwise non-comparable Alaska).

Below is the 50-state table. Note: New York also continues to spend considerably more than neighboring northeastern states with similarly powerful education lobbies and high living costs. On a per-pupil basis, New York’s school expenditures were 13 percent higher than New Jersey’s, 15 percent higher than Connecticut’s and 37 percent higher than Massachusetts’.

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- E.J. McMahon is the Research Director at the Empire Center for Public Policy.