New York State once again topped all states in K-12 education spending in 2007-08, according to U.S. Census data released today. The Empire State’s school spending of $17,173 per pupil was 67 percent above the national average of $10,259.
Salaries and benefits for school employees accounts for the lion’s share of the $6,915 difference between New York and the national per-pupil average. In fact, New York’s spending on instructional salaries and benefits alone—which came to $11,818 per pupil, 90 percent above average—exceeded the total per-pupil spending of 39 states.
New York’s 7.5 percent increase in per-pupil school spending in 2007-08–reflecting the last year of big state aid increases before the financial crisis–was greater than the national average of 6.1 percent and ranked 18th out of 50 states overall.
New York’s schools were ranked among the nation’s best in Education Week’s recent annual “Quality Counts” report. But two higher-ranked states, Maryland and Massachusetts, spent $4,207 and $3,219 less per pupil, respectively. If New York spent at the Maryland rate, it would have saved $11.5 billion; if it had spent Massachusetts rate, it would have saved $10 billion.
Here is a chart showing how the 50 states ranked, from top to bottom.