D.C. Public Schools Spent $31,843 Per Pupil; But D.C. 8th Graders Had Lowest Math and Reading Scores in Nation

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 13, 2022 | 11:57am EDT
(Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The public schools in Washington. D.C., spent a total of $31,843 per pupil in fiscal year 2020, according to a newly released report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Meanwhile, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered in 2019 showed that only 23 percent of the eight graders in D.C. public schools were proficient or better in reading and only 23 percent were proficient or better in mathematics.

The average reading test score for D.C. eighth graders was lower than the average for eighth graders in any of the 50 states. The average math score for D.C. eighth graders tied with the averages for eighth graders in Alaska and New Mexico for lowest in the nation.

According to the NCES report, the public elementary and secondary schools in the District of Columbia spent a total of $2,862,000,000 in the school fiscal year that ran from July 2019 through June 2020. In the 2019-2020 school year, which overlaps that fiscal year, the D.C. public schools had 89,878 students.

The $2,862,000,000 in total spending by the D.C. public schools equals $31,843 for each of its 89,878 students.

The $2,862,000,000 in total spending by the D.C. public schools included $2,134,996,000 for what the NCES calls “current expenditures for public elementary/secondary education” as well as $446,606,000 for “construction,” $30,362,000 for “land and existing structures,” $58,400,000 for “equipment,” $19,475,000 for “other programs,” and $172,162,000 for “interest on debt.”

In 2019, according to NCES, eighth graders in D.C. public schools had an average score of 250 out of 500 in the NAEP reading test. That was a lower average than any of the 50 states.

That same year, according to NCES, D.C. public school eight graders had an average score of 269 out of 500 in the NAEP mathematics test. That tied D.C. eighth graders with those in New Mexico and Alabama for the lowest average mathematics score in the nation.

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