Interactive Map: Per-Pupil Spending

The typical NJ school spent $16,600 in 2010-2011.

Click on a municipality to see per-pupil spending data for its primary school district and budget revenue sources for 2010-11, as well as the total budget change from 2009-10.

Source: N.J. School Report Card 2010-11

The typical New Jersey school district spent about $16,600 per student on education and other costs related to running a school district last year.

Most districts spent less per pupil in 2010-11 than in 2009-10, in part because of tough state-imposed spending caps and aid, according to data from the 2010-11 New Jersey School Report Card issued earlier this month by the state Department of Education.

The state this year changed the way it reported total per-pupil spending to include items not previously calculated, including employee pension contributions. State officials say this paints a more accurate picture of costs, and they have revised prior data to allow for accurate year-to-year calculations.

The New Jersey School Boards Association, however, says it is inappropriate to compare districts using the state’s total calculation because pension costs, special education, transportation and other specialized services can vary wildly among districts and can skew the totals, according to spokesman Frank Belluscio.

The public often uses the annual spending data in the report card to gauge the cost of education in districts.

The map ranks K-12 or K-8 districts by total overall spending. By clicking on a municipality, the data for its primary school district is available. The data include the percentage of a district’s revenues that came from local taxes and state aid last year, and the amount spent per pupil in several key areas — classroom instruction, support services, administration, operations and extracurricular activities – as well as the comparative budget total, which excludes such items as transportation that not all districts have, and grand total. The percent change in the grand total is given.

Also listed is each district’s district factor group, which is a state measure of socioeconomic wealth with A being the neediest and J being the wealthiest.

To see spending data for regional high school districts, as well as the county vocational and special service districts, click on the accompanying chart here.