Total taxpayer funds flowing into public schools in the United States increased 24.5 percent over a five-year period, reaching in 2001-02 an estimated $405.8 billion: $8,529 per pupil, $135,791 per teacher.
Estimated expenditures for operating public schools were almost $50 billion lower, at $358.0 billion: $7,524 per pupil, $119,782 per teacher.
Per-pupil revenues thus were 13.6 percent higher than per-pupil expenditures, with some of the $1,006 per-pupil difference accounted for by capital spending and interest on school debt.
Revenues per student varied from $12,160 in the District of Columbia to $5,653 in Mississippi; expenditures per student varied from $11,009 in the District of Columbia to $4,769 in Utah; and the difference between revenues and expenditures per student varied from $2,562 in New Jersey to $117 in North Carolina. Revenues per teacher varied from $176,097 in Alaska to $84,848 in Mississippi.
These observations are taken from data reported in the U.S. Department of Education publication, Early Estimates of Public Elementary and Secondary Education Statistics: School Year 2001-2002, released on May 21 although dated April 2002.
The estimates, as well as data for the previous five years, are published annually by the National Center for Education Statistics’ Office of Educational Research and Improvement. In addition to total revenue and expenditure figures, the report includes the number of pre-K-12 students, teachers, and high school graduates.
Manipulation of the report’s raw data produces the following observations:
- In Fall 2001, there were 47.6 million students enrolled in pre-K-12 public schools in the U.S., up 3.1 percent from Fall 1997.
- Public school students were taught by an estimated 3.0 million teachers, up 8.8 percent from Fall 1997.
- The U.S. average pupil/teacher ratio fell 5.2 percent from 1997 to 2001, from 16.8 to 15.9.
- Pupil/teacher ratios in Fall 2001 varied from 21.8 in Utah to 12.1 in Vermont.
- An estimated 2.6 million students graduated from high school in the 2000-01 school year—approximately one graduate for every 18.2 students.
- The number of students per graduate varied from 25.1 in the District of Columbia to 13.2 in North Dakota.
For more information …
The NCES publication, Early Estimates of Public Elementary and Secondary Education Statistics: School Year 2001-2002, is available from the Web site of the National Center for Education Statistics at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/2002311.pdf.