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The Facts on School Finance

June 19, 2017
  • A Mix of Funds

    A mix of federal, state, and local dollars supports U.S. public schools. Overall, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal government contributes about 9% of K-12 education dollars, states contribute 45%, and local governments contribute 46%.

    But these rates vary: Excluding Hawaii (which is a single-district state), the highest proportion of state support is found in places like Vermont (where the state government pays for 89% of the state’s education expenses), Arkansas (77%) and New Mexico (70%); the lowest proportion is in states such as Illinois (37%), New Hampshire (34%), and South Dakota (31%).

    US Census Bureau, Public Education Finances 2014: Table 5, Percentage Distribution of Public Elementary-Secondary School System Revenue by Source and State: Fiscal Year 2014: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/econ/g14-aspef.pdf

    National Center for Education Statistics, Public elementary and secondary revenues and expenditures, by locale, source of revenue, and purpose of expenditure: 2012-13, Table 235.40