Here’s How Arizona’s Student Funding Stacks Up


When it comes to state money distributed for education, Arizona’s numbers don’t look very impressive.

As reported by, Arizona ranks dead last in the amount of state funding allocated per student. Specifically, as of 2013 the state spent $3,018 per pupil, which amounts to only 53.8% of the national average.

A Closer Look

This drop in state funding means that Arizona school districts have needed to turn elsewhere to find funding, and it’s been federal and local governments that have stepped in. Since 1992, the amount of per-pupil funding from federal sources has increased by 176.15%, while funding from local sources has inflated by 76.99% percent. For perspective, state funding has undergone only a 49.3% increase within that same amount of time.

But even with local and federal funds added to the mix, the total per-pupil funding that Arizona’s students receive is still only 69.5% of the national average. That places Arizona students at 48 out of the 50 states in terms of total per-pupil funding, with only students in Utah and Idaho receiving less. At the opposite end of the spectrum are New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which respectively lead the nation in the funding levels that their students receive.

How We Arrived Here And What It Means For Arizona Students

Until the Great Recession, Arizona had mostly been following with other states in an upward trend in state funding for education. But 2008 brought on a 10% contraction in the Arizona economy and also a 33% decrease in revenue into the state’s general fund. This prompted the legislature to make budget cuts wherever possible, and public education was evidently high on their list.

Needless to say, this puts Arizona students at a considerable disadvantage as they pursue the opportunities that a quality education affords. They lose their competitive edge when compared to their peers across state lines, and parents may even choose to raise their children in other parts of the country.

At a time when negative funding trends in public education are capturing more and more news headlines, it’s critical that existing funds are used to create the best public education possible. This is precisely our goal for Tucson-area students at The Rising School.

As we outlined in greater detail in last week’s blog, we are held to higher student outcomes as a charter school than are traditional public schools. In exchange for our commitment to these heightened standards, The Rising School receives a higher degree of autonomy in how we choose to pursue them. In addition to an emphasis on outstanding academic achievement, we also place strong importance on students’ personal development and sense of community. And with our first year behind us, we can say with certainty that we’ve chosen a powerful recipe for student success and personal fulfillment.

To learn more about the Rising School and how you can enroll your child, call us at (520) 730-2657 or stop by our 7444 E Broadway Blvd location for one of our open houses.      

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