Report: Spending on Instructional Materials Increases for First Time in 6 Years

Instructional spending by K-12 schools in the United States was up 9 percent in the 2013-2014 school year, according to a new report from MDR, the largest increase in six years. The increase accounted for an additional $964 million spent on all instructional materials (AIM) over the previous year.

"AIM spending saw a significant drop in the years following the 2008 economic downturn," said MDR EdNET Insight and Research Senior Director Kathleen Brantley, in a prepared statement. "Between 2008 and 2013, U.S. public school spending on instructional materials decreased by $2 billion. Increased expenditures for the 2013-2014 year represent the first upturn in many years."

The average per-student expenditure on instructional materials across the U.S. was $244. More than half of the smallest districts, with fewer than 600 students, spent more than $300 per student. The largest districts, those with more than 10,000 students, were the most likely, at 40 percent, to spend the least on AIM per student at less than $200.

Total expenditures averaged $9,701 per student nationally, for a total of more than $470 billion. Schools were fairly evenly split on how much they spent, with 31 percent falling into the highest and lowest categories of more than $10,200 and $7,800-$10,199, respectively. The remaining 38 percent spent less than $7,800 on total expenditures per student.

The trend reversal for the nearly $12 billion market "indicates school districts are on much firmer financial footing to purchase instructional materials aligned to the Common Core Standards and assessment protocols and that are adapted to new instructional models, such as blended learning, flipped classrooms and personalized learning," according to a news release.

"We know from experience with our own business as well as our clients' that the market has been bouncing back," said Steve Gatland, vice president of sales at MDR, in a prepared statement. "But our annual analysis of spending across U.S. public schools was even more profound than expected."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].