Published: December 2, 2008

Fluctuating Funding for Students

When creating their budgets, many school administrators are faced with the challenge of inconsistent per-pupil funding levels from year to year. The EPE Research Center explores that phenomenon by examining changes in statewide per-pupil expenditures from the 2001-02 through 2004-05 school years. Spending levels are adjusted for both inflation and differential regional costs. The analysis shows that 30 states and the District of Columbia experienced constant year-over-year increases in adjusted education spending levels. But 20 states displayed marked fluctuations in per-pupil expenditures over this time period, with increases in some years and decreases in others. The District of Columbia saw the largest fluctuations, with per-student funding dropping almost $500 one year only to increase $835 the next year. That volatility contrasts sharply with the majority of states, which saw reliable annual increases in funding.

For more state-by-state data on school finance and other topics, search the EPE Research Center's Education Counts database.