U.S. public-education spending per student fell in 2011 for the first time in more than three decades, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data issued Tuesday.
Spending for elementary and high schools across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. averaged $10,560 per pupil in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. That was down 0.4% from 2010, the first drop since the bureau began collecting the data on an annual basis in 1977, the agency said Tuesday. However, when you adjust the figures for inflation, this isn’t the first drop on record. By that measure, spending per pupil dropped once in 1995 and hit its highest level in 2009. In inflation-adjusted terms, spending per pupil was down 4% in 2011 from the peak.