Sunday, July 18, 2010

Added detail on Kentucky education spending

Here's a way to think a little more about how Kentucky does and does not fund P-12 education:

The data source is the Census Bureau's Public Education Finance 2008, available here.  This version shows the use made of revenue from local, state, and federal sources, and leaves out dollars that goes to capital expenditures like new buildings and major equipment.

My preliminary thoughts go like this:

  • It isn't news to see spending around 85 percent of national average.
  • It is news to see that salary costs are closer to national average.  My first thought is that a pattern like that could be a smart one: if you can't do everything, do staffing right.
  • It's noteworthy that benefits are as far behind national average as overall spending.  Benefits have been a growing part of total state spending, but maybe not in a way that sets Kentucky apart.
  • It's remarkable that other spending is deeply lower than other states. I'm truly puzzled about which other things we are doing at much lower cost.  Books?  Computers?  Utilities? Transportation?

Those are preliminary ideas, because data like this really begs for shared analysis.  Please do share thoughts, questions, and hunches in the comments section below.


  1. Do these figures take into account the cost of living in Kentucky compared to other states?

  2. Good morning, Martin!

    These figures have no adjustment for differences in local cost of living.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!