State disparities in education funding

While state funding for education has grown in the past 20 years, so have disparities in per-pupil revenues among the states, according to a recent paper from the Rockefeller Institute of Government. The report divides the states into four "spending quartiles" (high, medium-high, medium-low, and low) based on per-pupil spending during 1998-2000. The high and medium-high states tend to be in the Northeast or Midwest, are wealthier, and have lower child poverty.

In 2000, the gap between high- and low-spending states was about $1,825. After the 2001 recession, the gap grew as high-spending states experienced strong growth while the other groups lagged. By 2007, the gap between high- and low-spending groups expanded to $2,585 per pupil. The report concludes:
  • The current economic downturn could exacerbate interstate disparities in education revenues
  • The stimulus Stabilization Fund is more likely to widen these differences than reduce them

Spending Is Up, and So Are Interstate Disparities in States’
K-12 Education Revenues
, Nov. 4, 2009 (pdf, 7pp/552kB)


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