Originally Published: April 29, 2018 5:58 a.m.
On the April 20 Opinion page you published a very interesting letter from Bernice Cressy of Prescott Valley. Her central point was that administrators and other “non-instructional” personnel are getting too much of Arizona’s educational funding.
I am always curious about these things, so I did a little research. In June 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Educational Finance Branch published an analysis of 2015 spending on primary and secondary education. I believe this is the most current data available on this topic. It shows that total spending on instruction for all states is about 60.6 percent of total spending.
For Arizona, state and local instruction spending in 2015 was about 53.4 percent of total spending. I also went back and looked at the prior study from two years earlier, and that study showed Arizona at 55.9 percent – so it’s going the wrong way! (If you want to see the data for yourself, look at Table 6 in the publication at www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/econ/g15-aspef.pdf.
Think about this: if Arizona had spent in 2015 the national average of 60.6 percent on instructional expenses, instead of 53.4 percent, that would have provided an additional $518 million for instruction. It seems to me what Arizona needs is a determined effort to reduce non-instructional spending so that instructional spending can be restored to an acceptable level.