Census Looks at School Finance
There’s plenty to digest in the most recent Census report on public education finance: per-pupil expenditures, sources of revenue, total spending, and other indicators for elementary and secondary education. We’ve written a lot about per-pupil spending (PA in 2011 spent and average of $13,467, making it 11th highest in the country) but it is worth a look at Table 5 in the report: "percentage distribution of public elementary-secondary school system revenue by source and state, fiscal year 2011".
That table shows that, on average for the U.S., the federal government provided 12.3%, state revenue provided 44.4%, and local revenue made up 43.3% (close to $600 billion altogether). Pennsylvania was close to the Federal average (12.5%), but in 2011 the data shows 34% came from the state and 53% from local.
Other states were more heavily local in their funding of public schools: Connecticut and New Jersey were the highest (both at 58%) and others with local sources providing over 50% of public school revenue included Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. With the exception of Illinois and Nebraska, the geographic group is decidedly northeastern.
At the other end of the spectrum-the states with the lowest percentage coming from local sources-the data shows Hawaii (2.5%), Vermont (4.7%), Arkansas (12.2%), and New Mexico (16.7%).