Per pupil funding in public schools dropped nationwide in 2011, but if New York is any indicator, it has since rebounded. A new chart, entitled, “New York City Public Schools: Have Per Pupil Budgets Changed Since 2010-2011?,” posted by the New York City Independent Budget Office on January 23, 2014, shows that per pupil spending has steadily risen in the past two years and now exceeds the previous high.
Several things baffle me:
1) Why are per pupil spending levels so low on this chart? I always thought per pupil spending now exceeded $20,000 in New York. But this chart has per pupil spending well under $9000.
2) If spending in New York City public education is recovering, why are class sizes still ballooning?
3) A secondary chart shows that per pupil spending has actually declined in 19 percent or more schools. If school funding is based upon enrollment, how can this happen? Shouldn’t per pupil spending have a base floor? And why do some schools have much larger per pupil spending gains than others? Could special needs students and extra grants explain that?