The States That Spend The Least on Each Student:
10. North Carolina
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $12.5 Billion (13th most)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 53% (17th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $8,587 (10th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 75.1% (16th lowest)
Although North Carolina’s educational system has many shortcomings, it performs fairly well considering the amount of money spent on it. For the last year on record, $8,587 was spent per student. This is the tenth smallest amount among all states. One would be hard pressed to prove that students in North Carolina do the tenth worst, however. Among eight graders in 2009, students had the 25th highest math scores in the country. Scores are somewhat lower for reading, the 14th lowest in country. The budget being proposed by the House may cut funds even further in the state. If adopted, $628.8 million would be cut from the budget, causing public school spending to drop 7% from 2008 levels, according to numbers from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $40 Billion (3rd most)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 41% (11th least)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $8,539 (9th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 75.4% (22nd lowest)
Texas spends just under $40 billion on education per year, the third largest amount in the country. Due to the state’s large population, however, it only spends a little over $8,500 per pupil, the ninth lowest amount. This amount will soon be even less. This May, House and Senate negotiators approved a state budget which will cut K-12 education funding in Texas by $4 billion. These cuts are expected to cause thousands of teacher layoffs. According to Bloomberg, many schools have already begun firing teachers.
Click Image To See Larger Chart of Graduation Rates By State
8. South Dakota
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $1.1 Billion (2nd least)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 33% (the least)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $8,506 (8th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 81.7% (12th highest)
Sixteen percent of funding for South Dakota’s public schools comes from federal sources, the most among all states. South Dakota schools also have the smallest percentage of funding deriving from state sources — 33%. Despite this, South Dakota performs exceptionally well in a number of metrics used to evaluate public education. In 2009, students in South Dakota received the eighth highest test scores for both math and reading. South Dakota also has the 12th highest graduation rate in the country. State education funding was recently cut by 6.6%.
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $3.6 Billion (17th least)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 51% (20th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $8,422 (7th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 56.3% (lowest)
The $8,422 that Nevada spends per pupil is producing the results that one might expect such small amounts of money to produce. The state has the eighth lowest math scores in the country and the fourth lowest reading scores. Perhaps most shocking is Nevada’s graduation rate of 56.3%, by far the lowest in the country. For comparison, the national average is 75.5%. A bill was recently passed to avoid further cuts in education spending in the state. It was vetoed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. As a result, $1.1 billion will be cut.
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $4 Billion (18th least)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 53% (18th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $8,074 (6th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 62% (2nd lowest)
Mississippi is another state which appears to suffer greatly from its lack of education funding. Students earned the lowest test grades in the country in 2009 for both math and reading. Mississippi also has the second lowest graduation rate in the country, with only 62% of 2005 enrollment graduating in 2009. Education cuts are still being made across the state. The recent budget for Mississippi includes $14 million in cuts from K-12 education in Jackson, MS, alone.
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