Abstract

Local and state governments dedicate a large portion of their budgets to public school funding, but a critical analysis of their expenditure has never been conducted. The amount of funding set towards education is dependent on the government’s allocated resources which is dependent on the accumulation of taxpayer money. In cases such as Serrano vs. Priest and Rodriguez vs. San Antonio (1971), it was determined that “education is a responsibility of the state government and held that local expenditures on education may not be a function of the taxable wealth of the local community” (Feldstein 1975). Because each state government is independently determining the amount of money set towards education, each state has a different budget which is based on the needs and composition of each population. The money from the budget is split between teacher payroll salaries and nonpayroll spending

In a study of demographic structure on public education, it was suggested that communities composed of elderly residents have smaller education budgets with less money allocated per student (Poterba 1997). Therefore, the composition of a community has an ability to control students’ funding, however, limited research has been conducted. A majority of the information available focuses on the achievement gap in schools which exists between “minority and disadvantaged students and their white counterparts” ( Ladson-Billings 2006). Further analysis of the matter determined that socioeconomic status might not be the underlying cause of this disparity in academic achievement. Even a comparison of standardized test scores of African Americans, Latinos, and Whites at similar income levels showed a gap (Ladson-Billings 2006). Is it possible that the root of the problem is the education budget, and what factors influence how much money will be allocated per state?

Questions

Location

My analysis of the education budget was conducted on a state and regional level. The disparity between education budgets across states vs regions has not been extensively studied, but I intend to use online data sets to draw conclusions. The Urban Institute has an extensive amount of data about state education funding.

Methods

Results

1. Total Education Budget by State

2. Average Education Budget by Region

3. Education Budget per Student by State

4. Average Education Budget per Student by Region

5. Education Budget for each State by Political Party Affiliation