Determining how much school districts spend on a per-student basis can be a challenging process. According to newly-released data from the US Census Bureau, New Mexico spends $10,177 per-student. That is a higher number than any of our neighbors with the exception of Colorado.
Of course, spending by district varies and we tend to believe that the US Census Bureau is not capturing the full number. Recently, we asked four of New Mexico’s largest school districts for “the District’s annual budget for the 2019-2020 school year” and “student population for the same year.”
Needless to say, the numbers came back quite a bit higher per-pupil than what the Census Bureau data reflects. Needless to say, education spending data are somewhat opaque even when you have it from the Census Bureau and there are districts in New Mexico that spend MUCH more than $10,177 per person.
Their annual budget is: $1,475,755,646 spent over 79,366 students
Here is Las Cruces schools data. The District spent $430,295,149 over 24,648 students
Here is Rio Rancho schools budget. Here is their student population. The District spent $309,216,222 over 17,212 students
Here is the Santa Fe Schools budget and here is the student population data.
The District spent $311,136,965 over 12,249 students.
3 Replies to “Per Pupil spending for New Mexico’s largest school districts”
I think that the census figures are low because they only include current expenditures with no provision for capital outlays or interest on debt. Attached is a link to a page from the national center for educational statistics showing the difference between current and TOTAL expenditures. When TOTAL expenditures are included, per student spending is much higher. I agree with the RGF method of simply dividing total expenses by the # of students enrolled in the fall-a very straightforward method. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_236.75.asp
Thanks, I appreciate the clarification. I have looked for similar data from the Census Bureau in the past. Capital outlays should definitely be included in the overall expenditure per-pupil especially since NM imposes Davis-Bacon requirements.