Report Shows Low Student Spending In Arizona

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Friday, February 27, 2015 - 5:30pm
(Courtesy of the Arizona Auditor General)
(Courtesy of the Arizona Auditor General)
(Courtesy of the Arizona Auditor General)

A new report demonstrates Arizona is behind the national average in spending per student. The Auditor General's report released Friday shows a fourth of districts are in moderate-to-high financial stress.  

The report analyzes 13 years of education spending from 2001-2014 across districts. Last year schools spent 53.8 percent of their money in the classroom, but the report’s definition of classroom spending doesn’t include student and instruction support. The state spends 7.9 and 5.9 percent respectively on those categories.

Arizona spends more money on support services than other states because it has higher levels of poverty. In 2013, 24 percent of students in the public schools were considered to be below the federal poverty level.

Heidi Vega with the Arizona School Boards Association points out in the past 13 years there has only been a four percent decrease in classroom dollars.

“Even with severe budget cuts, it’s evident that our state is continuing to remain focused on trying to stay consistent on classroom dollars," she said. 

Vega said the numbers in this report measure how schools are funded, but not the quality of the education.

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