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Christie Administration Releases Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending for the 2012-13 School Year

For Immediate Release Contact: Michael Yaple
Rich Vespucci
Date: May 9, 2014 609-292-1126

Trenton, NJ – The Department of Education today released the 2014 Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending to help New Jersey residents and interested citizens learn how their tax dollars are spent in their schools.

"This annual spending guide has been a valuable source of clear, useful data on our schools for taxpayers across the state," said Acting Commissioner of Education David Hespe. "This well-established guide includes a full accounting for all dollars spent on our schools providing a complete picture of spending in every school district in the state."

The Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending provides the public with information about school districts' annual budgets. Included are two types of total expenditures:

  • Total spending per pupil, which includes all district expenditures including state expenditures on behalf of school districts. and
  • Budgetary costs per pupil, which only includes costs that are similar among school districts.

For the 2012-13 school year, the average total spending per-pupil in the state was $18,891. The $866 increase is 4.8 percent higher than the 2011-12 total per-pupil spending rate of $18,025.

This is the third year that the Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending includes a full accounting of all spending on education in New Jersey. The former Comparative Spending Guide did not include costs such as transportation, debt service, federal funds, and state payments on behalf of the districts for pension, Social Security, and post-retirement medical costs. The previous guide also omitted the costs of tuition for students sent out of district.

The guide also compares school districts of similar size, and it ranks districts in 14 of the 17 spending categories, such as total administrative costs or total classroom instruction, as well as in four staff indicators, such as student teacher ratios and ratios of faculty to administrative staff. Costs are ranked on a per-pupil basis from low to high.

The Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending can be found at: 

The guide was first produced in the spring of 1997 as the Comparative Spending Guide. The guide's name was changed in 2011, when the Department of Education made modifications to provide a more inclusive representation of district and state expenditures.