Spending figures available at the Kansas State Department of Education indicate that spending was down for the 2010 school year. It was down both in terms of total dollars spent and spending per student.
Notice that spending has declined for only one year. This fact is in sharp contrast to the rhetoric of Kansas school spending advocates.
State aid to school districts declined by $1,018 per student, but federal aid increased by $679. After considering local aid, per-student spending was down by $330.
While that may seem like a lot of money, the context is that school districts in Kansas spent $12,330 per student last school year. School spending advocates routinely deny this fact, as they are embarrassed to admit how much money Kansas schools receive.
School spending advocates also use terms like “edge of a cliff” to describe the school budget “crisis.” As we can see, spending has been increasing rapidly for many years. It’s only in the past year that spending actually declined, and by a small amount at that.
In fact, for the 2000-2001 school year, spending per student was $8,024. Nine years later, for the 2009-2010 school year, the figure is $12,330, an increase of 54 percent at a time when inflation has been very low, nonexistent in some years.
Kansans should note that state aid per student last school year was $6,326, down from $7,344 the year before. School spending advocates are quick to point out that base state aid per pupil is only $4,012. But through the school finance formula with its adjustments and weightings, spending per pupil is much higher.