NC spends less than most on K-12 education

Posted May 2, 2016
Updated June 12

When it comes to state funding of public schools, it's clear that not all states are created equal. For a variety of reasons, such as the prevalence of successful businesses or the median income in a given area, spending on K-12 students varies greatly from state to state, or even county to county. A decrease in public school funding affects student and faculty alike, as budget cuts often bring about layoffs.

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, StartClass has ranked each state based on K-12 spending per student. Data was reported in January 2016 and reflects the 2012-13 school year. The values reported are adjusted for the cost of living in each state, and spending data from the previous two years has been included and adjusted for inflation.

On average, each state spent $10,763 per student in 2012-13, a 3.5 percent decrease from 2010-11. Wisconsin experienced the biggest two-year drop in spending, down 10.5 percent, but the state landed outside the bottom 15 in spending per student.

The complete, state-by-state list is best viewed in a browser on a high-speed connection.


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  • Demute Sainte May 3, 2016
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    And yet those kids that do attend 3rd world schools are sometimes better educated than ours.

    Throwing more money at a problem is not a solution. There ARE better ways to pay for education the public... all of the public. Vouchers for every student would be a real good start. Then let schools compete for students wishing to use those vouchers. (Free market principals) Then allow schools to throw out disruptive students. See... two minutes and I've solved a majority of the problem with our failing public education system.

  • Harrison Hall May 3, 2016
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    Most 3rd world countries use your system of no public paid for education. Only the upper middle class and better can send their kids to school.

  • Johnathan Gault May 3, 2016
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    You cannot BUY an education. How much money does it take to teach a child 2 + 2 = 4? I own small businesses and rental properties. I hire home school graduates and they are educated and perform in an outstanding manner. I can assure you their parents spent nowhere near $8,000.00 per year to teach them. I just lost one fine young man after 2 years of community college he is going to Bucknell, to major in accounting. If you think you can BUY education for students by spending , then you need to educate yourself.

  • Demute Sainte May 3, 2016
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    And the United States spends the most per student for public education in the industrialized world... yet our children consistently score lower on standardized tests. And despite our entire country throwing even more and more taxpayer dollars at the problem, overall scores are not improving much.

    As for teacher pay... there are far more factors to consider when it comes to salary and cost of living... such as quality of living. You could pay a teacher $100,000 per year, but put them in the middle of nowhere, with a horrible climate and poor housing... and the turnover rate would still be high.

    We need to overhaul the entire public education system and how it is payed for. Make parents accountable, and let them send a check each month to the school rather than by taxation. Let public and private school compete fairly for those students. PLENTY of options beyond the failing monopoly we have now.