Most of the world's best-performing school systems spend 18 to 20 percent of gross domestic product per capita on education, as shown above.
As a sandlot estimate, Kentucky is at the low end of that zone, based on the following analysis:
- $7,662 is the Census Bureau's report of our 2006 per pupil current spending, including state payments for health and retirement benefits for school district employees.
- $1,022 is my estimate of the employee and retiree health care portion of that 2006 spending, which is not likely to be in the education costs of the other systems.
- $6,640 per pupil is my estimate of our apples-to-apples education spending, after subtracting out the health portion.
- That's 18.3 percent of our $36,352 gross state product for 2007.
Sources: The graph above comes from How the world's best-performing school systems come out on top, introduced here. The spending figure is from Public Education Finance 2006, available here. The health estimate takes the 2006 state budget figure for health insurance plus half of the 2006 state budget contribution to the Kentucky teacher retirement system, and divides by the enrollment figure from the Finance report. I have not added anything to reflect district contributions for classified retirement or for employees paid with federal funds.