Education Funding in Mississippi: How Are We Actually Doing?

School funding blog

Education Funding in Mississippi: How Are We Actually Doing?

Overarching concept: Despite narratives to the contrary, public education for Mississippi’s children is funded at some of the lowest levels in the nation.

  • Recently in the State of the State Address Governor Bryant stated:

No less authority than the U.S. Department of Education lists our state as number twelve in the nation for school expenditures as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product.

–Governor Bryant State of the State Address:

Governor Bryant State of the State Address

  • So is this true? Are we spending more on education than 36 other states? If this is true, we’re really struggling to get the biggest bang for our buck.
  • Examining the statement closer, the Governor is correct, as a percentage of GDP we are ranked 12, but we’re also ranked 50th in our GDP Per Capita.
  • In other words, we spend a bigger percent of the smallest pie in the nation.
  • What’s a more useful way of looking at our state education expenditures? How much money is going towards each child in our state, i.e. our per pupil expenditures. When we look at that, our per pupil spending places us in the bottom 5 in the United States.
  • In other words, every Mississippi child in public schools receives one of the lowest per pupil allocations in the nation.
  • NOTE: This blog post is not examining how well existing dollars are used or allocated, just that we have allocated very few dollars per student.