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The States That Spend The Most And Least On Each Student

5. Tennessee
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $7.8 Billion (21st most)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 47% (25th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $7,897 (5th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 77.4% (24th highest)

Although Tennessee spends very little on education, its  performance it performs fairly well. Students in Tennessee have the ninth lowest math scores, yet they only have the 18th lowest reading scores. The state also has an average graduation rate — 77.4%. The state will soon have to deal with larger classes and cut programs, however, according to The Tennessean. Federal stimulus funding which boost education spending has expired, causing school districts across the state to cut costs.

4. Oklahoma
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $5.3 Billion (22nd least)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 50% (22nd most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $7,884 (4th least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 77.3% (25th most)

Oklahoma spends the fourth least amount per pupil. The state also pays the third least amount in employee benefits and the second least amount in teachers’ salaries to the number of students in the state. About 4% was recently cut from K-12 education budgets to close the state’s $500 million budget gap. As an additional burden, insurance rates were recently raised on schools across the state, due largely to damage this past year caused by weather events, such as tornadoes.

Click Image To See Larger Chart of Graduation Rates Compared To Expenditure Per Student

Source: National Center for Education Statistics report - Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2008–09 / Source: U.S. Census Bureau - 2009 Public Education Finances Report (Published May, 2011)

3. Arizona
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $7.75 Billion (22nd most)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 44% (34th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $7,813 (3rd least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 72.5% (10th lowest)

Arizona spends among the lowest amount on education per student in the country. The state also has among the lowest test scores in the country. Despite this, $200 million, or $175 per student, was recently cut from public education in the state. School districts in the state are being forced to cut costs as government funding dries up. The school district in Scottsdale, for example, is firing workers, changing employees’ health insurance plans, and giving teachers additional duties, according to The Arizona Republic.

2. Idaho
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $1.9 Billion (7th most)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 67% (5th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $7,091 (2nd least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 80.6% (13th highest)

Despite the small amount Idaho spends on education per pupil, its schools perform well. Its graduation rate is the 13th highest in the nation, 7% higher than New York, the state that spends the most. Idaho also has the 16th highest math scores. In the most recent budget, Idaho’s educational funding is being cut for the third straight year. Additionally, money is being shifted away from teachers’ salaries to pay for technology upgrades, according to the Times-News newspaper.

1. Utah
> Total Elementary-Secondary Spending: $3.5 Billion (16th least)
> % Revenue From State Sources: 53% (19th most)
> Amount Spent Per Pupil: $6,356 (the least)
> High School Graduation Rate: 79.4% (19th highest)

Utah spends the lowest amount on each student of any state in the nation, and is the only state to spend less than $7,000 per student, compared to a national average of $10,498. The amount spent, however, is an increase of 10.3% from the year before. The public education budget was also increased by 2% this year, according to Utah’s Daily Herald. Although math and reading scores in the state are around average, they are both better than scores in New York, a state that spends almost three times as much per pupil as Utah does. Furthermore, 21% of public schools in Utah failed to meet the goals set forth by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In New York, this number is 38%.

Click Here For The States That Spend the Most on Each Student

Michael B. Sauter, Charles B. Stockdale, Douglas A. McIntyre

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