American public elementary and secondary schools spent $10,560 per student during the 2011 fiscal year, down from $10,615 the year prior, according to a report [PDF] released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the first time that number has declined since the Census started collecting this data in 1977.
The report revealed striking differences between states in the amount of money spent per student. Check out this interactive map, built by us using the report's data.
Schools in the darkest green states spent the most per kid. New York is the highest spender, at $19,076 per student, followed by D.C. at $18,475 (not visible on the map), Alaska at $16,674, New Jersey at $15,968, and Vermont at $15,925. (These were the same top five spenders last year [PDF] as well, but in a different order.) New York spent over three times the amount spent per student in Utah, the lowest-spender at $6,212. (Complete rankings are in the report.) The report authors note that these numbers can mean different things in different school districts and states, depending on how they categorize current spending.
These spending discrepancies aren't just a trend in the lower grade levels. As Jordan Weissmann explained a few months back at The Atlantic, only two states didn't cut their per-student spending in higher education from fiscal year 2008 to 2013.
Map created on Google Drive.