K-12 per-pupil spending in Wisconsin lags national average

Spending on public K-12 education in Wisconsin lagged the national average by about $233 per pupil in the 2016-17 school year, according to new figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Those figures are the most recent available and rank Wisconsin 22nd among states in per-pupil spending and 23rd if the District of Columbia is included.

The Census Bureau data documents Wisconsin’s slide from a state with above-average per pupil spending on K-12 education to a below-average spending state.

In 2011-12, the first year changes brought about by Act 10 were in effect–including an 8.1 percent cut in state aid coupled with a 5.5 percent cut in per pupil revenue limits– Wisconsin’s K-12 spending exceeded the national average by $434 per pupil, according to the Census data.

Wisconsin’s per pupil spending relative to the national average dropped for several years.

As recently as the 2013-14 school year, Wisconsin’s average per pupil spending was higher than the national average.  By 2015, it had dropped below the national average by $17 per pupil.

The gap between Wisconsin ‘s per pupil spending in 2016-17 and the national average, however, was actually smaller than in 2015-16, when it was $306 per pupil, according to U.S. Census figures.

Nationwide, the amount spent per pupil for public K-12 education for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased by 3.7 percent during the 2017 fiscal year, according to a Census Bureau news release.