Tag Archives: New York State. public school spending

Census Education Finance Data for FY 2014 (Compared with FY 2002)

The Census Bureau’s annual education finance data was released for FY 2014 on Friday June 11. The data shows that NYC spent $24,004 per student that year, slightly below the average of the Downstate Suburbs ($25,041) but far higher than the average for New Jersey ($19,636), Connecticut ($19,388), Massachusetts ($16,884) and Maryland ($15,812).   The Northeast Corridor is a generally high wage, high cost of living area. Even adjusting for this, however, New York City’s average adjusted expenditure per student, at $18,764, was nearly 50 percent higher than the U.S. average of $12,625. On an unadjusted basis New York City spent $14,665 per student on instructional (mostly teacher) wages, salaries and benefits alone, or $293,300 per 20 students and $175,980 per 12 students. And this was at a time when the contract for NYC teachers had been expired for years; spending has soared since, as a result of retroactive pay for past years including FY 2014.

One finds the same pattern for Upstate New York. There, spending averaged $19,428 per student in urban counties and $20,490 per student in rural counties. This compares with the U.S. average of $12,625, the Ohio average of $12,907, and the Pennsylvania average of $16,585, and the Vermont average of $20,488. Links to detailed spreadsheets with data for every school district in New York and New Jersey, and per-student revenues and expenditures by category of revenue and expenditure, follow a discussion of where the data comes from and how it was compiled. As is my custom, I’m going to provide the spreadsheets now, think about them for a while, and then provide my analysis and express my opinion. If you want the facts without the opinion, this is the post for you.

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Census Bureau Education Finance Data FY 2013

Imagine the following on a postcard sent to every taxpayer and public school employee in Syracuse, NY: “In FY 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Syracuse City School District spent $20,882 per student. That was higher than the Upstate NY average of $19,116 per student, and the average for Vermont at $19,482 per student, and far higher than the U.S. average of $12,300 per student, the Pennsylvania average of $17,184 per student, or the Ohio average of $13,008 per student. The average private sector worker in Ohio and Pennsylvania earns about the same as the average private sector worker in Upstate NY. On instructional wages and salaries and benefits alone, the Syracuse City School District spent $10,946 per student, which is $218,912 per 20 students or $131,347 per 12 students.”

Imagine the following on a postcard sent to every taxpayer and public school employee in the Northport-E. Northport Unified School District. “In FY 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Northport-E. Northport Unified School District spent $24,649 per student. That was higher than the Downstate NY average of $23,549 per student, and far higher than the average of $19,121 for New Jersey, $18,312 for Connecticut, or $16,549 for Massachusetts. These are all high wage, education-oriented states on the Northeast Corridor. On instructional wages and salaries and benefits alone, the Northport-E. Northport Unified School District spent $15,222 per student, which is $304,442 per 20 students or $182,665 per 12 students. Downstate NY is a relatively high-wage area, but even adjusting Northport-E. Northport per student spending for this factor down to $20,283 per student, it is still vastly higher than the U.S. average of $12,300 per student. ”

Imagine similar postcards being sent to taxpayers and public school employees in every part of New York State. Where would the sender get the data? Perhaps from the spreadsheets linked below. Continue reading

Local Government Education Expenditures: 2012 Census of Governments Data

Perhaps the most important reason that New York’s state and local tax burden is so high, as discussed here,

https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/taxes-2012-census-of-governments-finance-data/

is that its public school spending is high as well. High not only per student, but also per $1,000 of state residents’ income, the income they must use to pay for those public schools. High not only compared with the U.S. average but also with adjacent states in the Northeast. High not only in affluent suburbs, but also just about elsewhere in the state.

The U.S. averaged $40.76 in elementary and secondary school spending per $1,000 of personal income in FY 2012, according to the Census of Governments from the U.S. Census Bureau. The New York State average was $52.38, which ranked fourth even though New York City’s teacher pension contributions, which are considerable, are excluded from the calculation. The states with higher spending as a share of their residents’ income were Alaska and Wyoming, where high spending is funded by oil, gas and mineral extraction taxes rather than other businesses and residents, and (barely) Vermont. The teachers’ union calls New York State’s schools “underfunded.” That means that if any of the other states decided to fund a huge school spending increase funded by big tax increase, like New York City over the past 15 years, it would still face claims that the schools had limited obligations because spending wasn’t high enough. Continue reading

New York’s Sky-High Public School Spending

It doesn’t even get much of a mention in the NYC press anymore, but the education finance data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and released each year shows that New York State’s public school spending per student is sky high, one of the biggest reasons why New York has the highest state and local tax burden on residents and most businesses in the U.S. The Bureau’s report mostly includes data at the state level, but it releases far more detailed data in spreadsheets. In my compilation of the detailed data for FY 2012, FY 2002, and FY 1992 (which includes data for every school district in New York and New Jersey, and which you can find here),

https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/census-of-governments-public-school-finance-data-fy-2012-2002-and-1992/

I show that New York State’s public school spending is sky high even when it is marked down in Downstate New York to adjust for the higher average private sector wage and cost of living here. It is sky high not only compared with the U.S. average and states like California, North Carolina and Colorado (let alone Tennessee and Oklahoma), but also compared with adjacent Northeastern states such as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, states reputed to have good schools. And it is sky high not only in the Downstate Suburbs, but also in Upstate New York and, in a change from the past, New York City.

Public school spending has soared in New York City, coming off the lows when the city’s schools were underfunded in part because the state aid formula discriminated against its children. The current level of spending seems almost unimaginable for those who have followed the data in the past and still do so today. Just on instructional (mostly teachers) wages, salaries, and benefits, in FY 2012 New York City spent $13,627 per student – or $272,536 per 20 students – even though for most of the city’s children class sizes were far higher. And in reality the cost of the city’s teachers was even higher, because the city was underfunding its teacher pension plan, which is deep in the hole as a result of all of the retroactive pension increases over the years, and deferring costs to the future. Despite that sky-high level of spending, however, for a substantial minority of teachers egged on by the United Federation of Teachers (and thanks the way the union has maneuvered to have it distributed), all it bought was an attitude of resentment at how little they were paid. In the late 1990s, when spending levels were far, far lower, the courts had found (in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit) that the city’s schools were so bad they violated the state constitution. But in the most recent Mayoral campaign, despite this massive increase in spending every candidate but one asserted that the city’s schools were no better than they were in the 1990s. Spending has soared with nothing in return, and this is so out of hand as to represent a social injustice. We’ve been robbed. A series of charts and commentary of public school finance over the years may be found below.

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