A new report has shown that the total spending for education in New York State reached $60 billion for the 2013-14 school year, which averages out to $21,812 per student.
According to analysis released by the New York State Association of School Business Officials, 54.5% of that total was paid for by the 679 local school districts in the state, with about 90% coming from local property taxes. The state paid $9,026 per student, or 41.4% of the total. The remainder came from the federal government.
Per-pupil education spending in New York is well above the national average, according to the US Census Bureau. Across the country, the average per-pupil spending was $10,700 for the 2013 fiscal year. Meanwhile, that average was $19,818 in New York State the same year, reports Jon Campbell for Lohud.
The total spent for the 2013-14 school year increased by $2 billion, or 3%, from spending the previous year, which had totaled $58 billion. Although the state has increased its spending from what was seen in 2010-11, it is still behind what it spent before the most recent economic recession.
School spending in the state has experienced an increase of 5.6% each year between 1994 and 2008. However, the funding rate slowed to 2.2% as of 2009. Meanwhile, instructional costs, such as teacher salaries and benefits, have remained consistent over the last ten years, accounting for 77% of overall spending despite a 181% increase in teacher pension costs in the same time period. A 72% increase in health care costs and 94% increase in tuition costs for special education make up additional significant increases in spending noted in the report.
The report, “The Education Dollar: A Look at Spending and Funding Trends,” noted that school funding in the state has shifted in the last 10 years to increasingly becoming the responsibility of local districts and property taxpayers. While school districts in the state paid for 50.3% of total education cost in the 2004-05 school year, that percentage increased to 54.5% in 2013-14.
In addition, wealthier districts continue to spend more on education than high-needs districts in the state, averaging about $5,000 more per student. That difference has remained consistent for the past 5 years, according to the report, despite an increase in school aid in each year of that time frame.
In that same time frame, the state’s spending saw a drop from 43.5% to 41.4%. State spending reached a low of 39.8% in 2011-12. Meanwhile, federal spending decreased from 6.2% to 4.2%.
“The state share of education funding is still below pre-recession levels despite recent increases in school aid demonstrating a need for further state investment,” said Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO’s Executive Director. “The disparity between high and low need districts remains troubling to efforts to improve student achievement for all students. The state needs to not only end the GEA, but make a serious down payment on funding the Foundation Aid formula developed in 2007 that was meant to address the inequity between high and low need districts,” stated Mr. Borges.