State per-pupil spending highest since 2011

Public school advocacy groups are pointing out that inflation-adjusted per-student spending is lower than it was before the Great Recession. But I do not believe that ignoring the recession makes for a sound analysis.

During the recession, a Democratic legislative majority cut state education spending significantly.  Since the 2010 elections, Republicans have boosted nominal per-pupil expenditures (PPE) nearly every year, although those increases have not always kept pace with inflation or enrollment growth.

Using the GDP Deflator to adjust for inflation (base=2015) and NC Department of Public Instruction data, I determined that state expenditures were higher in 2015 than they were in any year between 2011 and 2014.

Year Nominal State PPE Inflation-Adjusted State PPE
2015 $5,638.39 $5,638.39
2014 $5,390.12 $5,437.72
2013 $5,399.64 $5,544.75
2012 $5,361.41 $5,590.03
2011 $5,161.73 $5,472.08

Terry Stoops / Director of the Center for Effective Education | John Locke Foundation

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...