Where Do Public Education Dollars Go?

Published June 1, 2003

U.S. public education spent a total of $410.6 billion in school year 2000-01, according to Public Education Finances 2001, a March 2003 report from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau. Out of each public education dollar spent, 85.4 cents went for current spending, 11.9 cents went for capital outlays, and 2.7 cents went for other expenditures.

The 85.4 cents for current expenditures was made up of 51.8 cents for instruction, 28.9 cents for support services, and 4.7 cents for other current spending.

The Commerce Department publication also reported $402.4 billion in total public education revenues for 2000-01. Of each public education dollar raised, 49.9 cents came from state sources, 43.0 cents came from local sources, and 7.1 cents came from federal sources.

Total school district debt outstanding at the end of the year was $201.6 billion, roughly half of annual revenues. Fall 2000 enrollment in public schools was 47.2 million students.