Policy Documents

Following the Money: A Tennessee Education Spending Primer

Benjamin Clark, Alexandria Gilbert –
August 19, 2013

The amount that Tennessee taxpayers already spend on public education is significantly underreported, finds this report from the Beacon Center of Tennessee. While the average stated amount spent per pupil is $9,123 per year, the true figure is about 11 percent more, or $10,088 per student. Of that funding, less than 54 percent is directed at classroom instruction, such as teacher salaries, textbooks, and other instructional spending. And that figure is in constant decline, whereas administrative spending is on the upswing. Since 2000, the number of administrators in Tennessee’s education system has grown by 34.5 percent, while the number of teachers has increased by less than 17 percent, and the number of students has grown by just seven percent. Administrators’ salaries have also outpaced those of teachers during that time period.