The Census Bureau slipped its data on public school finance out in late May.
There was no press release or PDF report, but if you click on 2016 tables at the top and then “Summary Tables,” you can find all the spreadsheets the Bureau previously released in PDF format. Including, crucially, Table 12 (tabs on the bottom), which ranks states according to their school revenues and expenditures per $1,000 of state residents’ personal income (which adjusts for the state average cost of living and average age and the ability of state taxpayers to pay). And Table 18, which provides per pupil revenues and expenditures for the 100 largest school districts, including the most expensive by a mile, New York City. As in the past, I’ve downloaded and compiled more detailed data for every school district in New York State and New Jersey, the U.S. average, the averages for selected other states, and selected school districts elsewhere. And tabulated revenues and expenditures per student by category for FY 2016 and FY 1996 — with an adjustment for the higher average wage in the high-cost of living Northeast Corridor.
I’ve been holding onto the data for a month, re-downloading and checking it against other sources, because New York City’s expenditures and staffing levels had become so extreme that I can hardly believe it. Especially since it would be much higher today, in FY 2019. And because Mayor Bill DeBlasio, candidate for Governor Cynthia Nixon, and a lawsuit from a group backed by the United Federation of Teachers claim that New York City school funding is inadequate, with the schools “cheated out of $billions.” How high was it? Take a look.