How much money does the United States spend on public elementary and secondary schools?
School districts had total expenditures of approximately $610.1 billion in 2008–09, including about $519.0 billion in current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education. Of the remaining expenditures, nearly $65.9 billion was spent on capital outlay, almost $16.7 billion on interest payments on debt, and $8.5 billion on other programs (including programs such as community services and adult education, which are not a part of public elementary and secondary education).
After adjustment for inflation, current expenditures per student in fall enrollment at public schools rose during the 1980s, remained stable during the first part of the 1990s, and then rose again. There was an increase of 37 percent from 1980–81 to 1990–91; a change of less than 1 percent from 1990–91 to 1994–95 (which resulted from small decreases at the beginning of this period, followed by small increases after 1992–93); and an increase of 34 percent from 1994–95 to 2008–09. In 2008–09, current expenditures per student in fall enrollment were $10,591 in unadjusted dollars. In 2007–08, some 55 percent of students in public schools were transported at public expense at a cost of $854 per pupil transported, also in unadjusted dollars.
|Current expenditures per pupil in fall enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools: Selected years, 1961-62 through 2008-09|
Current expenditures in unadjusted dollars
Current expenditures in constant 2009-10 dollars1
NOTE: Beginning in 1980-81, state administration expenditures are excluded from "current" expenditures. Current expenditures include instruction, student support services, food services and enterprise operations. Beginning in 1988-89, extensive changes were made in the data collection procedures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Table 191.
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