Arizona spends less on educating its kids than almost any state in the union, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday.
In 2006, the state spent $6,472 per student, or $2,666 less than the national average. Only Idaho and Utah spent less. The report has ranked Arizona second or third from the bottom in per-student spending dating to 2000.
The state Legislature caps the amount of money schools can receive from the general fund and in property taxes, said Chuck Essigs of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials. That formula is more restrictive than the majority of states', he said.
Arizona also ranks in the bottom three when tallying money spent on instruction, including teacher pay and benefits. Administrative costs can't be blamed for eating up the money, either. Arizona ranked second from the bottom on money spent on administration of individual schools.