Nearly half of U.S. states have not seen education spending recover to pre-recession levels, but Minnesota’s has recovered at a faster clip than districts average nationally. Before the recession, in 2008, Minnesota districts spent $11,864 per student. In 2015, the most recent data available, they spent $12,666. Note: Data shown in 2018 dollars, adjusted using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI Inflation Calculator.
While Minnesota districts’ spending has come back after it lost ground during the recession, many states’, including Oklahoma and Arizona, have not.
In Oklahoma, inflation-adjusted per-pupil student spending declined by 5 percent between 2008 and 2015. Oklahoma spent $8,567 in per student in 2015, earning it a ranking of 48th among U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Declining oil revenue and income tax cuts both figure into declining education spending here, according to Governing. In Oklahoma, one in five districts has cut classes to four days a week, and educators’ minimum base salaries haven’t increased in almost a decade. The state is offering emergency credentials to a record number of teachers to fill classrooms.
Arizona schools have long had less per-pupil resources than other states, ranking near the bottom in the early 2000s. In 2015, the Grand Canyon State ranked 49th among the U.S. states and the District of Columbia in education spending, at $7,938 per student. Total spending per student was down 11 percent between 2008 and 2015.