Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kentucky Revenue for Schools, Four Ways

| Susan Perkins Weston |

Here are four quick ways to benchmark the revenue Kentucky puts into elementary and secondary education.

1. Kentucky State and Local School Revenue Compared To U.S. Average
Over the last 12 years, Kentucky has consistently funded schools at a level well below the national average. The dollar amounts have grown, though inflation has worked to reduce what schools can buy with the dollars.

2. Kentucky State and Local Revenue Adjusted for Inflation
This version gives a clearer sense of how the buying power of the available dollars have changed over the same set of years.
3. Kentucky State and Local Revenue As Proportion of U.S. Average
Here, we can see some slow movement closer to the national average, but with a recent setback. From 2002 to 2012, we edged upward from 77% of U.S. average funding to 82%, but 2014 (the most recent year available) has us slipping back to 80%.

4. Kentucky State and Local Revenue Ranking Among the 50 States
Finally, here’s how our revenue for schools has placed us compared to other states. We ranked:
  • 42nd in FY 2002
  • 41st in FY 2004
  • 41st in FY 2006
  • 41st in FY 2008
  • 41st in FY 2010
  • 36th in FY 2012
  • 39th in FY 2014
A Note on Federal Dollars
The discussion above looks at the funding Kentucky governments provide for our Kentucky schools.   The federal government provides some further revenue, designated mainly for added services to low-income students and for a fraction of the added costs of serving students with identified disabilities.  For 2014, federal revenue to Kentucky schools was $1,202 per pupil.  That was $108 more than the national average of $1,094, with the difference happening mainly because Kentucky serves more students with the targeted kinds of needs. Combining local, state, and federal revenue, Kentucky schools had 82% of U.S. average revenue in 2014, and that combined school revenue placed us 38th of the 50 states.

Sources: Chart 1 figures are the sum of state and local revenue per pupil shown in the Census Bureau’s “Public Elementary-Secondary Education Finance Data” reports. Chart 2’s inflation-adjustments use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI Inflation Calculator.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!