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CA ed spending jumps per pupil but declines in economic share

LA School Report | April 6, 2015

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(Credit: California Budget and Policy Center)

(Credit: California Budget and Policy Center)

California now ranks 29th among all states and the District of Columbia in spending per student, up from 42nd two years ago, according a new report from the California Budget and Policy Center.

The jump is attributed in part to Proposition 30’s tax increases, which were approved in November 2012.

The new ranking is based on data released in March from the National Education Association, which showed that in 2014-15, California is expected to spend $11,190 per student, up from $9,013 per student in 2012-13, according to Ed Source.

Ed Source also pointed out that earlier this year, Education Week’s annual ranking placed California 46th in per-student spending, but the ranking was three years old because it was based on data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, and also were adjusted to reflect regional costs of living.

Anyone looking to cheer the per-pupil spending increase in California should consider other factors, the California Budget and Policy Center notes.

“While ranking per pupil spending is a common way of comparing states’ investment in K-12 schools, this approach fails to take into account differences in states’ wealth and thus provides an incomplete picture of state support for K-12 education,” the report says.

Using a different measure — comparing education spending as a share of the state’s economy — the gap between California’s K-12 school spending and other states “widened substantially” between 2001-02 and 2012-13, according to the report.

“California school spending equaled 3.88% of state personal income in 2001-02, compared to 4.04% in the rest of the US, a gap of just 0.16 of a percentage point. However, by 2012-13 the gap had increased to 0.89 of a percentage point, larger than at any time in the past 45 years,” the report states.

Click here to read the full report.

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