Report: U.S. Spending on Public Schools in 2019 Highest Since 2008

K-12 School Spending Up 4.7% in 2019 From Previous Year.

The nation spent $752.3 billion on its 48 million children in public schools in fiscal 2019, a 4.7 percent increase from the previous year and the most per pupil in more than a decade.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances tables, released today, shows per-pupil spending for elementary and secondary public education (pre-K through 12th grade) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased 5.0 percent to $13,187 in fiscal 2019 from $12,559 in fiscal 2018 — the largest increase since 2008.

Total expenditures for elementary and secondary education include fiscal 2019 “current” spending, capital outlay expenditures, interest on debt, and payments to other governments.

Instructional salaries, the largest expenditure within current spending, totaled $239.9 billion in fiscal 2019, or 31.9 percent of total expenditures for public elementary-secondary education.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau:

Current spending, which made up $652.3 billion or 86.7% of total expenditures in FY 2019, consists of expenses for day-to-day activities, including teachers’ salaries and benefits and most other school system daily expenses.

Capital outlay, another portion of total expenditures that includes construction, large equipment expenses and improvements to existing structures, totaled $76.3 billion or 10.1% of total expenditures.

Total expenditure increased by 4.7% while total revenue increased by 4.5% from fiscal year 2018.

School funding in Maryland is mainly a combination of state and county funding, as very little funding comes from the federal government, and school boards in Maryland do not have independent taxing authority.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland General Assembly this year overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a multi-year plan that obliges some $4 billion in annual state and county spending above current education funding formulas and projections by its eventual phase-in in FY 2030.

The final fiscal and policy note on HB 1372, this year’s legislation to modify and adjust the Kirwan Blueprint education plan, was released this week –  and includes a set of figures for each county’s “Maintenance of Effort” for FY 2022.

Visit the U.S. Census Bureau website to view and compare selected finance data, including revenue and expenditure, for FY 2019 by state.

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