We all need to understand how schools get funds and how the funds are distributed.  Money affects so much of what happens in school—the number of teachers, the kinds of programs, music and art classes, librarians and counselors, class size, if there are enough books for each student or microscopes for biology classes, and the number of AP courses offered.  These are all important elements of good education.

Arizona ranks 49th in per-pupil spending, so our schools are stretched to the max to provide what the students need and Arizona kids are suffering. You can tell some of the effect by how we rate nationally.  Arizona has more kids aged 16-19 that do not have high school diplomas than any other state.  Thirty percent of Arizona students don’t graduate.

Let’s take a look at how much we spend, how we got there and the how we can fix it.

Education makes up a significant portion of the state budget. In 2006-2007, the Department of Education spending accounts for 41.06% of the state’s General Fund.

How do we compare:

  • 1st New York spent $14,119 per student
  • 2nd New Jersey at $13,800
  • 47th Oklahoma ($6,613)
  • 48th Mississippi ($6,575)
  • 49th Arizona ($6,261)
  • 50th Utah spent the least per student $5,257

All 10 of the states with the lowest spending per student were in the West or South.