How does Colorado rank on per-student school spending?
Author: Mark Harden - May 21, 2018 - Updated: May 21, 2018
With education funding and teacher pay much in the news lately, the U.S. Census Bureau is out with a timely set of tables showing that Colorado ranks in the lower third among the states in public-school spending per pupil.
The tables, released Monday, show Colorado coming in at No. 39 nationally among the 50 states and the District of Columbia fin fiscal-year 2016, with per-pupil spending in public elementary and high schools averaging $9,575.
That’s well behind the national per-pupil spending average of $11,762.
Only Alabama, South Dakota, Texas, Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arizona, Idaho and Utah finish behind Colorado in per-pupil school expenditures; Utah takes last place with average spending of $6,953, the Census Bureau reports.
At the other extreme, New York state tops the list with spending averaging $22,366, followed by D.C. ($19,159), Connecticut ($18,958), New Jersey ($18,402) and Vermont ($17,873).
Of Colorado’s $9,575 in per-student spending, $5,423 is for instruction (No. 41 among the states), of which $3,759 is for instructional salaries (No. 38) and $1,069 is for benefits (No. 44).
Colorado per-pupil spending also includes $149 for general administration (No. 39 among the states) and $695 for school administration (No. 18).
Elsewhere in the Census Bureau data dump, it’s reported that Colorado lags the national average in the share of public school revenue that comes from the state (43.4 percent versus the national norm of 47.4 percent). Colorado also trails in the share that comes from federal sources (7.1 percent versus 8.1 percent nationally).
That means a larger-than-average share of Colorado school revenue comes from local sources, including property tax: 49.5 percent versus the national average of 44.5 percent.