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Idaho education spending still at the bottom

Idaho remains stuck at the bottom of public education funding, ranking second to last of all states in per-student spending for a third straight year, the U.S. Census Bureau said today.

Idaho spent $6,824 per student in the 2010-11 school year, above only Utah, according to the latest available figures.

Neighboring Washington ranked 30th – up two spots from the previous year – with $9,483 spent per student.

Both Idaho and Washington fall below the national average of $10,560 per student. And that is down 0.4 percent from 2010 – the first decrease in per-student spending since the Census Bureau began collecting data in 1977.

The census figures also include rankings for school spending per $1,000 in per-capita income for each state. By that measure, Idaho ranked 42nd, which is a drop from the previous year’s ranking of 38th and far below the state’s 17th ranking in 2001.

The share of Idaho’s personal income that goes to schools dropped 23 percent from 2000 to 2013, according to the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy.

Washington long has scored low in the measure of spending per $1,000 in personal income because of the state’s relatively high personal income, which has been well above the national average for years.

Washington was 46th on that measure in 2010-11, a slight improvement from 49th place the year before.

Nationally, property taxes accounted for 65.6 percent of revenue from local sources for public school systems.

The top per-student spenders were New York ($19,076), the District of Columbia ($18,475), Alaska ($16,674), New Jersey ($15,968) and Vermont ($15,925).

Other states ranking near the bottom include Mississippi ($7,928), Arizona ($7,666), Oklahoma ($7,587) and Utah ($6,212).

Out of the 16 states with the lowest per-student spending, 15 were in the South and West.