Rankings on per-student spending show other numbers also on the rise

Average per-student spending hit $14,360, an increase of 5% from the previous year.
By: | May 9, 2022

A lot of things are going up in K-12 education: per-student spending, daily attendance, teachers’ salaries and—perhaps surprisingly—the number of instructional staff. One area where numbers are expected to drop, however, is total enrollment.

Average per-student spending, based on fall 2020-2021 enrollment, hit $14,360, an increase of 5% from the year before, according to an analysis by the NEA labor union. The top state saw a double-digit increase while per-pupil spending dropped in only a single state. Overall enrollment for 2020-21 dipped by 0.1% to just under 48 million. That’s a 1.4% decline from fall of 2012 when enrollment was well over 49 million. Still, average daily attendance is projected to increase by 0.3%.

Despite widespread reports of staff shortages, total instructional staff appeared to rise slightly in 2020-21, by 0.4%, to nearly 3.8 million. The number of classroom teachers also increased by 0.1% to a little more than 3 million.


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But the power of teacher salaries has declined over the past 10 years, according to NEA. It’s estimated that the average teacher will make $66,397 for the 2021-2022 school year, as salaries have been increasing gradually. But when adjusted for inflation, this year’s earnings are also about $2,200 less—or about 4%—than a teacher earned a decade ago, according to NEA.

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Here’s where NEA ranks each state on per-student spending, with how much it has increased (or decreased):

  1. New York: $28,704 (8.51%)
  2. Vermont: $23,299 (5.31%)
  3. Washington, D.C.: $23,181 (2.4%)
  4. New Jersey: $22,760 (4.02%)
  5. Connecticut: $22,153 (3.58%)
  6. Massachusetts: $21,584 (7.79%)
  7. New Hampshire: $19,062 (9.61%)
  8. Pennsylvania: $18,847 (6.08%)
  9. Alaska: $18,708 (2.59%)
  10. Rhode Island: $18,651 (5.26%)
  11. Wyoming: $18,385 (8.53%)
  12. Illinois: $17,500 (5.73%)
  13. Hawaii: $17,303 (6.87%)
  14. Maine: $17,293 (7%)
  15. Washington: $17,193 (9.92%)
  16. Delaware: $16,997 (5.52%)
  17. Maryland: $15,744 (0.12 %)
  18. North Dakota: $15,336 (4.39%)
  19. California: $14,801 (4.84%)
  20. Oregon: $14,400 (8.51%)
  21. Minnesota: $14,122 (4.59%)
  22. Virginia: $14,003 (10.17%)
  23. Wisconsin: $13,833 (6.03%)
  24. Ohio: $13,695 (5.33%)
  25. West Virginia: $13,671 (6.18%)
  26. Nebraska: $13,133 (1.6%)
  27. Colorado: $12,996 (2.77%)
  28. New Mexico: $12,964 (2.82%)
  29. Kansas: $12,828 (4.43%)
  30. South Carolina: $12,677 (4.69%)
  31. Georgia: $12,597 (6.25%)
  32. Montana: $12,597 (3.47%)
  33. Louisiana: $12,399 (4.48%)
  34. Iowa: $12,295 (6.24%)
  35. Kentucky: $12,103 (0.12%)
  36. Michigan: $11,597 (5.64%)
  37. Indiana: $11,265 (4.12%)
  38. Tennessee: $11,128 (7.67%)
  39. South Dakota: $11,102 (3.92%)
  40. Arkansas: $11,081 (7.71%)
  41. North Carolina: $11,052 (7.3%)
  42. Texas: $10,741 (-1.63%)
  43. Alabama: $10,705 (4.59%)
  44. Florida: $10,703 (4.19%)
  45. Oklahoma: $10,553 (7.36%)
  46. Missouri: $10,481 (1.61%)
  47. Nevada: $10,200 (6.84%)
  48. Arizona: $9,920 (6.21%)
  49. Mississippi: $9,920 (5.31%)
  50. Utah: $8,968 (7.98%)
  51. Idaho: $8,376 (5.09%)