Before the recession, California spent more per student on K-12 education than most other states, ranking 23rd in the nation. In 2010, it ranked 35th, according to figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
As the state deals with perennial budget deficits, per pupil spending on K-12 education grew by just 2 percent from 2007 to 2010, much slower than the 10 percent rate of growth seen nationwide.
All told, California spent about $9,375 on education per student in 2010, roughly 12 percent below the national average.
The relationship between school funding and student performance is not always clear. Schools in the northeast tend to spend more, and their students tend to perform better on standardized tests, while schools in the south spend less, and their students tend to perform worse. But there are multiple exceptions. Utah and North Carolina, for example, spend much less than the national average on education but their students tend to do well when tested.
This map shows K-12 spending per student in fiscal year 2010.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau