Martha’s Vineyard outdistances average per pupil costs

The Edgartown School.

In 2010, Massachusetts spent less per pupil than three of its neighbors but more than the national average, which was $10,615, the State House News service reported.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Public Education Finances 2010 study, Massachusetts spent $14,350 per pupil. That puts the Bay State in eighth place in the amount of per-pupil spending, behind Vermont, New York, and Connecticut, among others. Washington, D.C., spent $18,667, the most per-pupil, and Utah spent the least, at $6,064 per pupil.

On Martha’s Vineyard, the cost spent per pupil ranged about $3,000 to $9,000 higher than the state average in 2010, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

The per-pupil cost was $20,821 for Edgartown School; $17,517 for Oak Bluffs School; $19,127 for Tisbury School; $23,439 for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School District; and $22,275 for the Up-Island Regional School District, which includes the Chilmark and West Tisbury Schools together.

Total education spending in Massachusetts, including $1.1 billion in federal money and $7.9 billion in local money, equaled $15.2 billion. According to the data, which was presented without any ideological arguments about spending, about 51 percent of Massachusetts’ education spending comes from local sources, which places it behind 10 others states, including New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in terms of local spending as a percentage of the educational dollar.

Massachusetts ranked near the bottom in terms of federal funding as a percentage of the educational dollar. In the Bay State federal money accounted for 7 percent of education spending. New Hampshire received the least, with 6 percent federal funding, and North Dakota had the most, with federal funding making up 22 percent of education spending.

The Northeast spent more per-pupil than elsewhere, with the exceptions of Alaska and Montana. Massachusetts is similar to New Hampshire and Connecticut in terms of spending per-pupil as a fraction of personal income. Education spending in those three states is equal to about $40 to $45 for every $1,000 in personal income. The other three New England states spent a higher percentage of personal income on education than Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.