Arizona's Per-Pupil Education Spending Estimated to Be the Lowest in the Nation

Categories: News
arizona-education-building.jpg
Matthew Hendley


Arizona spends the fewest dollars per student on education than any other state in the country, according to an estimate.

People often mention that Arizona's per-pupil spending rate is the third- or fourth-lowest in the nation, based on census information that is usually about two years old by the time it's released every year. In other words, Arizona had the fourth-lowest level of per-pupil spending back in 2011, according to data released less than a year ago.

See also:
-Portion of Arizona Education Dollars Actually Spent on Instruction Hits a New Low

The latest estimates come from the National Education Association, which is the teachers' union.

For the 2012-13 school year, the NEA ranks Arizona last in per-pupil spending. The NEA also ranked Arizona last in its report released last year, for the 2011-12 school year.

The NEA estimates that Arizona spends $7,021 per student in average daily attendance (the rankings are also measured by fall enrollment, instead of average attendance, and Arizona's still last).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it's estimated that Vermont spends more than $26,000 per student. Thirty-three states, plus the District of Columbia, spend more than $10,000 per student, and the national average is about $11,300 per student.

Anyone who's paid attention to the per-student funding debate knows that more per-pupil spending certainly doesn't mean a better performance out of the students, but in Arizona's case, the students have not been performing well compared to other states.

A recent report from the Arizona Auditor General also found that Arizona school districts spent less than 54 percent of their available operating dollars in the classroom in 2013 -- the lowest percentage since the monitoring began, in 2001.

"Each year since fiscal year 2004, districts have decreased the percentage of their resources they allocated to the classroom," the report said. "At the same time, the percentages allocated to administration, plant operations, food service, transportation, student support, and instruction support have all increased."

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49 comments
krehbieo14
krehbieo14

Nothing like short changing public school system students and creating a cycle where parents blame public education and send their kids to private schools. What businesses are going to locate here with a public school system that is the worst in the nation in funding. Good ole Arizona.

Craig Smith
Craig Smith

Corporations are privatizing schools for profit. Only the money matters to them and people are suffering as a result. It's very sad.

earthmomma16
earthmomma16

Arizona's Koch sucking politicians are on the Privatization bandwagon.  They are making the school system fail on purpose.....Wake up peeps, and smell the bull.  I was born and raised in this state, grew up in Arcadia....  What is happening to the beautiful state I still love makes me sick to my stomach.
ALL of the conservatives in our state have lost their minds.
We need to vote then ALL OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/Ask_Your_Legislator_about_ALEC

Linda Evans
Linda Evans

Even worse than the low spending per student is the high spending on administration. It's a recipe for disaster . . . or voters who support Joe Arpaio et al.

dkessler4
dkessler4

We don't build schools here anymore instead we build private prisons in Arizona. Other county monies that might go to the schools go instead to finance Joe's abuse cases and Montgomery's frivolous lawsuits to overturn voter initiatives.

Reggievv
Reggievv

We can't fix schools by throwing money at them. Unless it is private school subsidies, then we CAN throw money at them. Resegregation now, resegregation tomorrow, resegregation forever.

bobunf
bobunf

It’s pretty simple why the Arizona Public School system is being dismantled by the 90+% White state legislators: the percentage of Ethnic Whites in Arizona Public Schools for 2012-213:


Elementary 22%

High School 25%

Charter48%


The percentage of Hispanics in Arizona Public Schools for 2012-213:


Elementary 64%

High School 61%

Charter36%


The figures are from our own state government at:

http://www.azed.gov/research-evaluation/arizona-enrollment-figures/


Although, since I first posted this, the Superintendent of Public Instruction has removed the summaries from the database.  You have to add up all the numbers yourself.   Nice to know they’re paying attention.


To paraphrase Thucydides, The real cause I consider to be the one which is formally most kept out of sight; the growth in the number and power of Hispanics and the alarm which this inspired in the established White political, economic, cultural, religious and educational structures.


Tale as old as time

Tune as old as song


Brian Grummell
Brian Grummell

Businesses *are* flocking here from high tax high regulation CA and it's truly awful education system

Andy LaRusch
Andy LaRusch

Outraged?! Good! Then vote for the next bond election AND override election in your local district(s) , AND tell your neighborhood to do the same. People don't realize that these elections are now frequently the only way for schools to maintain (yes MAINTAIN) funding levels. Building new are falling in to disrepair, books can't be purchased and good teachers aren't getting raises because these are not being passed. Oh, and you could also donate a $200 to $400 tax credit each year to a local school to help improve things, and it all comes back to you at the end of the year. Let's talk immediate impact. Just saying here folks.

Al Moore
Al Moore

Stupid people are the fuels of Capitalism.

Vera Candelaria Smith
Vera Candelaria Smith

And that is why I moved to MN, better quality of life and a real education. God bless you all who are stuck in that God awful state.

ReggieVV
ReggieVV

Dead last in spending per student. What happened to the days everyone in the State pulled in the same direction, Republicans like Barr and Democrats. Now the fetish is for a theocracy, and paying absolutely nothing in taxes, unless it is for private school, tax payer paid, vouchers, because that is what they are. No amount of lipstick will hide that dung heap, private school welfare.

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

Wake up, folks. More charter and private schools are obviously not the answer. Put some better people in charge and Arizona's ranking will rise.

Marilyn Ostrow
Marilyn Ostrow

nope, not surprised at all. And it seems most people here are PROUD of it.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

Keep them stupid like Jaffy is Arizona's motto, that way the morons will continual to elect the morons we have in office,

shadeaux
shadeaux

Does this really surprise anyone?

1959cutter
1959cutter

like I said earlier, this is a JANE HULL giveaway with encouraging students to transfer public money to a private for profit corporation!

if a business wants your land for a "school",they will get the state to take that land away from you and turn it over to them to do with whatever they want!

people are stupid for voting these thugs into office.



  "I THINK...THEREFORE I AM A LIBERAL"

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Of course... Republicans (which are who run this this state) don't want smart subjects... too much of a chance they will figure out how much their 'masters' are screwing them, they might revolt


That and there was no money left over after Arpaio embezzled most of it and wasted the rest settling the lawsuits over his fuckups

motivatedvoter
motivatedvoter

The Auditor General numbers have been successfully used for years by the pro-privatization folks as a 'yeah, but...' type of defense. 

They are playing us for fools.  Please take a moment to consider the actual numbers.  If you view even just the executive summary of the Auditor General's report, you'll see that AZ school districts spend LESS on administration than the US national average.


Where do we spend proportionately more?  On things like special education support staff, social workers, aides, school lunches, etc...the type of services that typically increase when you serve poorer populations.  We also spend a slightly higher percentage on transportation (higher costs in remote desert areas) and cooling our schools (obvious reasons).


** And here's the big thing.**   The key to this Auditor General's statistic is the fact that it is given in percentages -- not dollars.  Here is why that makes a difference:


If you invested $1,000 a month to run your home and your air conditioning bill was $100, you'd be paying 10% to cool your house.


If you suddenly slashed your budget to $700 a month, that same $100 air conditioning bill would now be 14% of your overall payments.  That sudden 4% increase doesn't mean that your air bill went up or that your cooling efficiency went down.


Arizona schools need to keep serving lunches, picking up kids in school buses and heating/cooling the schools.  The cost of these mandated services isn't going down just because we've decided to allow our legislature to spend the last couple of decades slashing school budgets.  The more they cut -- the starker the Auditor General stats will appear.  It's a great sleight of hand, and some might suggest that this measure cropped up as a primary tool a few years back for precisely that reason.


gozona2001
gozona2001

@bobunf  your main point is correct but those numbers aren't accurate.  Here are the real numbers:  


Charters

Non-Hispanic: 64.9%

Hispanic: 35.1%

Districts

Non-Hispanic: 56.1%

Hispanic: 43.9%

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@bobunf  

Nice try at playing the race card, but I think you'll find that the percentage of Hispanics in private parochial schools is even higher.

The real issues are that there are a lot of voters in Arizona who don't have school-age kids, and a lot of voters who are religious and who'd rather let the taxpayers pay to send their kids to religious schools.

 

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

i dont. just watch the way i talk to JAFfy.

gozona2001
gozona2001

@1959cutter  Jane Hull was the best Governor for public education in the history of the state.  Ever hear of Proposition 301?  It's her baby.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@1959cutter  

If you really thought, you wouldn't assign a label to yourself.  Being against the policies of specific conservatives doesn't justify taking a liberal stance on all topics.

motivatedvoter
motivatedvoter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative If we're honest here, the problem is us.  The majority of Republican voters send their kids to public schools here in Arizona,  but there just are not enough people willing to invest the time to spread the word about all of the flagrant profiteering in the legislature (Yarbrough's STO scheme, etc.). We are all too busy, too cynical and/or too apathetic.  


If you ask around, you'll probably find that your friends, co-workers and neighbors would agree that our state government is messed up, but most of them won't know who actually represents them in the Arizona legislature.  Or they'll know their names, but they'll associate them with some fluffy ad and won't know much about how they actually voted on their behalf.  When it comes time to actually vote, they'll vote straight ticket according to party, skip the part about state government...or simply not bother to vote at all.  


This isn't hard to fix.  It only takes a couple of hundred people additional people in a state this size to ensure that the conversation changes and that enough voters  REALLY understand what's at stake.  The problem currently is that not enough people have decided that this is worth their time and energy.  Partisan politics aside, no parent would support the kind of wholesale dismantling of their neighborhood school that is occurring right now if they really understood it.  And we're paying the price for that lack of understanding right now.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753  

The problem isn't "Republicans", but the religious right, and our election system, which favors the religious right candidates over those who can actually think for themselves.

Arpaio cost the county a lot of money, but counties don't really contribute a lot to education. That's pretty much all at the State or School District level.

 

bobunf
bobunf

@gozona2001 @bobunf  Of course, the real issue is the percentage of non-Hispanic Whites in public school, or likely to be in public school.  And that is determined by this fact:

The percentage of non-Hispanic Whites under the age of 20 in Arizona as of the 2010 Census was 42.1%.

One could suspect that that percentage has declined in the last four years.

Is it any wonder that the tipping point has been passed for the near all White Republican majority?  No spending their money on Latinos, Blacks,Indians, Asians,,,


bobunf
bobunf

@valleynative @bobunf  "the percentage of Hispanics in private parochial schools is even higher"

You have a source for this assertion?  Or did you just make this up?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative "Nice try at playing the race card"


Says the bigoted lowlife who habitually whines about "illegals" being the cause of all the perceived problems in the U$A.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@valleynative @bobunf  actually, the real issue is the AZ GOP keeps taking money from education and giving it to the likes of CCA. 

dkessler4
dkessler4

@valleynative @Flyer9753  I worked in the schools in Glendale for over 35 years.  My paycheck came from Maricopa county.  The school funds come out of a county pot of money.  This is the same general pot of money that pays for Joe's screw-ups and Montgomery's frivolous suits against voter initiatives.  We now spend more money funding prisons than we do on Universities to education our population.  While the US has 5% of the world's population we now have 25% of the world's prisoners.  We jail people at higher rates than did Hitler or Stalin.  We have more people in prison than they do in all of China.  Not a good direction for our society to take.  Honestly, the last thing these people want is for people to be educated.  Watch what they do, not what they say in this regard.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753


wah wah wah... we are republicans who embrace our religious every chance we get, then distance ourselves when this type of thing comes up, so that we can appear to be above board... meanwhile tomorrow we will be back kissing the religious rights ass up one side and down the other... of course not forgetting a big old frenchy right in the middle....


The problem IS Republicans, no matter how much Republicans wished otherwise. They made their bed, now they have two choice, lie in it or throw it out.


The Republicans free pass is over.


As to Arpaio, county moneys do get paid to the state for those education funds so go ahead and split hairs all you like, my comment is accurate and stands.


No go nitpick someone else.

gozona2001
gozona2001

@bobunf @gozona2001  Superintendent's Annual Report for FY2012-13, page 13.  Add up the numbers of hispanic vs. non-hispanic by grade

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@dkessler4 @valleynative@Flyer9753 

You're mistaken about the "pot of money".  The county collects the taxes for the school districts and writes the checks, but the money is not coming out of the same pocket as Joe's.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative 

You're so blinded by your irrational hatred of a stereotyped image that you can't seem to see how absurd it is to believe that all Republicans "embrace religion". 

County contributions to education are negligible.  That's not splitting hairs, that's simple fact.  Sorry if it doesn't fit your preconception that Republicans and Arpaio are to blame for all of your problems.

 

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