$13 billion in the school supplies “poorhouse”

Source: Independent Institute
by Vicki Alger

“One fed up grandparent and former public school superintendent successfully sued an Idaho district for charging fees for regular classes and requiring parents and guardians to purchase specific brands of school supplies — basics the district is supposed to be providing (see here and here). Yet what most teachers and parents don’t realize is just how much funding public school districts already get for supplies. For perspective, American public elementary and secondary education spending now totals more than $625 billion, according to the U.S Department of Education. (By the way, that’s nearly $130 billion more than the entire Department of Defense budget.) Of that amount, public schools spend nearly $43 billion on supplies. Once we remove all the supplies spending associated with administration, overhead and maintenance, transportation, food service, instructional staff, student support, and ‘other’ support services, we’re left with over $13 billion in supplies spending associated exclusively with instruction. (For state-level supplies spending, see here.) This amount works out to around $267 for each of the roughly 50 million elementary and secondary school students.” (09/13/17)