K-12 Spending: Where the Money Goes

Managing Editor

It’s well known among K-12 budget analysts—not to mention school district finance staff—that the vast majority of spending in education occurs on people.

Recently released federal data provide clarity on what’s generally known about the huge amount of money in districts that’s consumed by the salaries and benefits of teachers, administrators, and support staff. The data also offer a general breakdown of how districts spend money in different areas connected to administration, student support, and instruction.

Total spending in the United States’ K-12 system stands at $634 billion, or $11,222 per student for the 2013-14 year, the most recent year where data is available, according to the Condition of Education 2017 report, published by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Salaries and benefits make up a combined 80 percent of school spending, according to the report:


The remainder, as the chart shows, is being spent on purchased services, at 11 percent, a category that includes everything from professional development for teachers to contracts for transportation, food, and janitorial services. The buying of supplies, which NCES says covers everything from textbooks to heating oil, consumes 8 percent of district budgets.

Per-student spending hit its highest point in 2008-09 at $11,699, and then fell every year until 2012-13, when it stabilized and grew slightly, as the economy began to climb out of the financial hole left by the Great Recession.

NCES also breaks down school spending by specific categories within the overall costs of salaries, benefits, purchased services, and supplies. The biggest individual spending category by far is “instruction,” at $6,821 per student annually—or 61 percent of all current spending.

Instruction is defined by NCES as including “activities dealing directly with the interaction between teachers and students.” It can include instruction that occurs online, and outside the classroom:

Breakdown of spending in K-12


Spending on instruction includes not only salaries and benefits for teachers and aides, notes the agency, but also instructional materials and services that school officials contract to purchase.

The money spent on curriculum is counted in the “instruction” category if it’s purchased curriculum, NCES explained in an email. But curriculum would be counted in another category, “instructional staff services,” funded at $514 per student, if it’s part of support given to staff who are developing lessons, the statistical agency says. Instructional staff services also includes staff training, and support for libraries and media and computer centers.

Getting a precise gauge on district spending in another category, technology, is difficult, because that spending is counted across different categories.

There’s nothing especially surprising about the amount districts spend on salaries and benefits—after all, teaching is at the core of the work that K-12 districts do—and people are the ones doing it every day in classrooms. But the data are a reminder of the constraints that districts face, in terms of the money available for curriculum, technology, and other needs, that are not already committed to paying personnel costs.

See also:

10 thoughts on “K-12 Spending: Where the Money Goes

  1. It is interesting to know where the money is going. Alone salaries and benefits adding to 80 percent of school spending. Nice insight, Sean!

  2. Why do you lump all salaries together? Administration, support staff and teachers should be separated into their own groups.

  3. Sign up S1288 Via Android

    Hi online cockfighting gambling enthusiasts, on a good
    possibility now we will talk about the S1288 list for
    android mobile users quite easily and practically,
    associated with course it will end up being assisted
    by Betberry.
    Why don’t look at the complete information under to understand the system
    regarding creating a popular and exciting cockfighting

    The way to Register S1288 for Android Free

    Below we will discuss about how to sign-up a free S1288 account for android for bettors who
    are new and want to join the particular trusted gambling agent Betberry.

    Register a gambling account for an online online game of cockfighting
    you may do easily and quickly via the mobile edition of Android or iOS.

    One of the primary needs for producing an S1288
    Cockfighting betting account is of which you must have a great Indonesian bank such because
    Bank BCA, Mandiri, BNI, DANAMON, BRI and CIMB NIAGA.

    If you already have one of the banks mentioned, it’s very
    easy to create an ID. The Betberry. win internet site as the cheapest
    official S1288 agent will help new bettor to register a totally free S1288 account.

    Register on-line S1288 can also be done directly through the livechat service available
    by Betberry, you can contact our customers via livechat
    at the bottom right of typically the monitor screen or by
    simply the most practical way to fill in the latest S1288 list form.
    When filling out the form, make sure to fill in the data
    completely plus appropriately in order that Betberry Customer
    care can contact you to be able to help confirm your account.

    You can ask anything with this professional customer service that always operates
    twenty four hours a day, in addition to is just devoted to serving these types of S1288 game players.

    Some other features besides livechat, sign up S1288 online for android
    for free can be carried out by way of other social media for example Whatsapp, Line, or Text.

    Betberry Official Contact:
    Whatsapp: + 62-813-6055-3599
    Sms: + 62-813-6055-3599
    Line: Betberry
    NB: If you want to directly make a down payment or withdraw it may be processed
    directly by way of chat with customer service upon the Betberry.
    win site.

    Thus the article concerning the listing of free S1288 android accounts
    that we can convey. Immediately sign-up yourself to play cockfighting gambling which has recently
    been very popular among cockfighting gambling lovers particularly in Philippines.
    Hopefully this article can be useful in adding insight or perhaps helping you if
    you need to register. Good luck and Play!!!

  4. If you are playing online slots using genuine
    keep for sure, you should pay attention to some of this past you finally fail to bring house
    the victory. In this advocate grow old you
    can piece of legislation online slots around everywhere,
    even to make transactions you can then use online
    bank transfers or even on some sites you can make deposits using credit.

    Some things that you have to pay attention to are actually quite common, but people often ignore them and underestimate them, in view of that in the end what happens is that the person loses every of the
    initial capital to bet. in view of that you
    should start reading anew and listening to some of the
    once that will make you practiced to enjoy online slot games without painful nearly losing.

  5. Ion Casino

    Ion casino is a trustworthy and best on the internet
    casino site from 2010 that has dished up millions of players in Asia.

    Ion casino or also referred to as Ionclub is typically the top
    ranking choice site because it provides the finest experience
    for gambling online players in Philippines.

    With an official license to function, this provider ensures that
    players help to make bets without danger, credibility and can be trusted.

  6. If you are planning to protect your computer using an internet security program, then you must visit webroot.com/safe to learn about Webroot security programs. It is a unique security system developed for computers to fight against viruses and internet attacks. Whoever uses Webroot gets the benefit of secured privacy and encrypted data on their computers.

  7. One can avail of the premium features of Microsoft Office by visiting office.com/setup. Microsoft Office is an excellent productivity suite that a large number of people use in the world. It offers several good applications for office tasks. Microsoft Office simplifies your office tasks and lets you do the hours’ jobs in several minutes.

  8. You have the included advantageous asset of live merchants or
    croupiers providing you with upfront methods and cause get your game likely when you remain having a cam.

Leave a Reply