The National Conference of State Legislatures has put together some numbers that tell us how our elementary and secondary schools are funded and where Missouri ranks nationally in each category.
The NCSL study says state governments provide the largest share of the funding. The national average is 46.7 percent. That’s down from a few years ago as most states including Missouri have cut funding because of the poor economy.
Local governments (the school districts provide an average 43.8 percent of district funds. Funeral funds account for only 9.5 percent.
The figures are based on the Census Bureau study, “Public Education Finances: 2009.” The study was released last May.
Here’s where Missouri falls:
Missouri schools receive an average of $844 from the federal government. That’s $315 below the national average. Only nine states receive less. Alaska gets the most with $2,401.
The State provides $4,370 per student, $1355 less than the national average. Again, only nine states contribute less to their elementary and secondary school systems than Missouri does. Vermont contributes $15,169 to its schools.
Local support in Missouri amounts to $5,242 per student. That is within $125 of the national average. New Jersey is tops in that category with $10,474. We are 19th on that list of states
Our addition says the national average expenditure on elementary and secondary education is $12,251. Missouri’s total is $10,456. The report also includes the District of Columbia but we have not included DC in our rankings.
In part your comparison is irrelevant. The cost of almost everything is much higher in other states, such as New York or California. So, trying to compare pure dollar to dollar comparisions is not meaningful. For example, the high housing costs of these high cost states causes teachers’ salaries to rise, but the higher salaries don’t necessarily buy more. Also, there is a huge fallacy in equating costing more to better. Those in the education establishment always want more money. However, more money does not necessarily equate to a better educational product. Just look at the Kansas City and St. Louis School Districts. More money is spent there than anywhere else in the state and the schools still perform very poorly.