NY schools spend $21,206 per pupil

by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York’s public schools spent $21,206 per-pupil during the 2014-15 school year, topping all states and exceeding the national average by 86 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today.

Excluding charter schools, New York’s public elementary and secondary schools had 2.6 million pupils and spent more than $59  billion — exceeded only by California, which spent about $66 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 $14,769 per pupil, were 114 percent above the national average of $6,903, the census data show.

In the category of “support services,” including central and school administration, New York ranked seventh with spending of $5,972 per pupil. That was 49 percent above the national average—but if New York had only spent the national average in the support category, it still would have ranked second among states in overall per-pupil spending (trailing only Alaska, which is fundamentally incomparable on this scale).

Below is a rundown of per-pupil spending in the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. 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 16 percent higher than New Jersey’s, 15 percent higher than Connecticut’s and 36 percent higher than Massachusetts’.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Note: Payments to other school systems are excluded from this table. Expenditures for adult education, community services, and other nonelementary-secondary programs are also excluded in the per pupil data. Detail may not add to total because of rounding.

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