Per pupil spending is all the money schools get from state and local government divided by the number of students in Oklahoma. Leaders in education said those dollars take care of teacher salaries, square footage and supplies.
So if we had more of this money, would it help our students succeed?
“As a parent and an educator I sure think it would. I would hope it would because we would have high quality teachers in the classroom. We wouldn’t have the shortage that we have today,” Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association Shawn Hime said. “And we would have more technology to be able to offer a higher level of courses, more arts, extra-curricular activities, things that help with a well-rounded student.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oklahoma ranked 47th out of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. spending about $8,700 per student per year.
That puts us well below the national average of nearly $12,400 and below our neighboring states.
“It’s not just about the money, but the resources that the money provides puts us as a huge disadvantage,” Hime added.
But the President of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Jonathan Small, said he believes there is no correlation between student achievement and per pupil spending.
“Across the country there are districts that are spending some of the lowest amounts or even charter schools that are spending some of the lowest amounts per pupil and have student populations that are low income, faced heavy headwinds as it relates to academics yet they are performing very well at a very low cost per student,” Small told News 9.