Chapter 8: State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Select Indicator:

Quartiles | Findings | Description

Current expenditures per pupil for elementary and secondary public schools: 2003

Current expenditures per pupil for elementary and secondary public schools: 2003

Current Expenditures per Pupil for Elementary and Secondary Public Schools: 2003.


Current expenditures per pupil for elementary and secondary public schools: 2003*

1st Quartile
2nd Quartile
3rd Quartile
4th Quartile
Alaska Georgia California Alabama
Connecticut Hawaii Colorado Arizona
Delaware Illinois Kansas Arkansas
District of Columbia Indiana Kentucky Florida
Maine Iowa Louisiana Idaho
Maryland Michigan Missouri Mississippi
Massachusetts Minnesota Montana Nevada
New Jersey Nebraska New Mexico North Carolina
New York New Hampshire North Dakota Oklahoma
Pennsylvania Ohio Oregon South Dakota
Rhode Island Virginia South Carolina Tennessee
Vermont West Virginia Texas Utah
Wisconsin Wyoming Washington  
*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES Common Core of Data, State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education and National Public Education Financial Survey. See table 8-10.

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  • Expenditures per student in public schools rose during the late 1980s, remained stable during the first part of the 1990s, then rose again in the late 1990s.

  • In academic year 2002–03, expenditures for public education totaled approximately $388 billion, a 5.2 % increase over the previous year.

  • Instructional costs accounted for 61%, support services were 35%, and non-instructional costs accounted for 4% of 2002–03 expenditures for elementary and secondary schools.

  • A direct correlation between spending and academic performance cannot be made because several states that ranked in the lower two quartiles of this indicator ranked in the upper quartiles of the NAEP indicators.

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Investment in education at the elementary and secondary levels is important in creating a well-educated populace and preparing individual students for their careers. One measure used to compare states’ investment in elementary and secondary education is current expenditures per student at the elementary and secondary levels. Current expenditures per pupil include three major components: instructional costs, support services, and non-instructional costs. Current expenditures do not include longer-term financing, building construction, and the costs of programs outside the scope of preschool to grade 12, such as adult education, community colleges, and community services.

Current expenditures per pupil are calculated by dividing the total current expenditures for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 for the entire academic year by the number of pupils enrolled in those grades during the fall of the academic year. All figures represent actual spending and have not been adjusted for inflation. The year is the latter date of the academic year.

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National Science Board.