Idaho spends less per student on public education than any other state except Utah. And it faces a choice in how to increase the amount it puts into public schools, says a new report from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
Idaho spent $6,821 per student in 2011, the latest year for which state comparisons are available. The U.S. average is $10,658.
Spending more money by itself doesn’t necessarily lead to improved student performance, the report says. But if education is to get more funding, state leaders will have to make a decision: take a greater share of existing dollars and put them into education or increase the size of Idaho’s economy to get more dollars for schools, the report says.
The report is the first installment in a quarterly series from the foundation entitled “The ReThink Series: Knowledge Base of Educational Facts,” done in partnership with ECONorthwest, an economic, financial and planning consultant.
In its first report, the foundation looks at several questions such as: How much does Idaho spend on K-12 schools and how spending affects student achievement.
“We hope that these reports provide a framework for discussion around key issues.,” said Jamie MacMillan, foundation executive director. “And how we fund our schools is definitely one of the most important.”