If Kansas doubles the amount of money it spends on schools, will that be enough?
This afternoon I’ve been looking through the Digest of Education Statistics, a massive report compiled by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s a compilation of information from across the country, so it’s useful for making comparisons across the states.
You can also use the book to detect trends over time. The information isn’t as current as state reports, but that’s because it takes a while for all the data from 50 states to trickle in.
Even so, here’s one way of looking at spending by Kansas schools. It’s of “current expenditures,” which is to say that it doesn’t include capital costs (money spent on building construction). So it actually underestimates public investment in public schools. The numbers are, though, adjusted for inflation (the CPI) and per-pupil attendance.
YEAR and PER-PUPIL spending (Table 185)
1970 … $3,916
1980 … $5,353
1990 … $7,152
2000 .. $7,870
2007 .. $9,585
That’s a 244 percent increase.
A 244-percent per-pupil increase.
A 244-percent, adjusted-for-inflation increase.
A 244-percent, adjusted-for-inflation increase that doesn’t include money spent on capital expenses.