Policy & Funding

Federal Per-Pupil Spending Map Gives Rundown for Each School and District

The United States Department of Education has launched an interactive map that shows how much money each school spends per student. So far, districts and schools in 20 states have been added to the map.

The idea, according to the agency, is to "radically increase transparency as parents and local leaders seek to understand funding levels and differences between schools." ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires each state to provide the data on "per pupil expenditures" as part of its public "report card" for each education agency.

Agency Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested in a press release that because states provide the information "in different ways and places — some more transparently than others," it was up to the Department to make the state data "more easily accessible and searchable."

Map results provide a rundown on federal, state and local funds that make up the per-pupil expenditure (PPE) for each school and district starting with the 2018-2019 school year — the first year in which the data was required to be reported. The tool provides the map, individual state pages and downloadable Excel files.

Federal Per-Pupil Spending Map Gives Rundown for Each School and District

Users can search for individual districts and schools or filter by district, city, grade level and Title I status and do comparisons within individual states.

"Parents are increasingly attuned to how their schools are — or aren't — meeting their students' needs," said Secretary DeVos, in a statement. "They need tools to advocate for reforms, and good decision-making requires transparent, actionable information that, unfortunately, isn’t always easy to find. That’s why we've committed ourselves to fixing that. This new web tool clearly displays per pupil student funding at the building level so parents can see how their money is being spent on students. This is the level of transparency that states and districts should aspire to and that parents deserve."

The agency said that the tool would be updated as additional data became available.

The map is openly available on the Department's website for the Office of Elementary & Secondary Education.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.