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Missouri Parents, Look Up What Your Child's School Spends Per Student

Pitcher Elementary in Kansas City spends $14,683 per pupil to educate students, which is about $650 less than the district average.
Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
Pitcher Elementary in Kansas City spends $14,683 per pupil to educate students, which is about $650 less than the district average.

For the first time, Missouri is reporting how much is spent per child at every school in the state.

It’s a requirement of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that’s supposed to help ensure equitable access and opportunity for all children.

There are many reasons why per-pupil spending levels vary within a district, though.

“It could be the programs that are offered at that school, it could be the staff experience at that school,” Missouri Deputy Education Commissioner Roger Dorson said. “The school may have teachers that have a lot of experience and are paid more.”

For example, a school that serves a lot of English-language learners might get more funding than a nearby school in the same district with few students in need of bilingual support. It’s also really common for districts to spend a lot more on high school students than elementary or middle school students.

This data is supposed to provide transparency  for how districts and schools allocate their resources. But there are some limitations. It still isn’t easy to find out how much money a school is fundraising, for example, and that’s a big component of charter school budgets.

“This is a work in progress,” Dorson said. “This is the first year out.”

You can look up your child’s school below.


Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Brent Jones is the data visualization specialist at St. Louis Public Radio. Follow him on Twitter @brentajones.

Copyright 2019 KCUR 89.3

Elle covers education for KCUR. The best part of her job is talking to students. Before coming to KCUR in 2014, Elle covered Indiana education policy for NPR’s StateImpact project. Her work covering Indiana’s exit from the Common Core was nationally recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award. Her work at KCUR has been recognized by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and the Kansas City Press Club. She is a graduate of the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism. Elle regularly tweets photos of her dog, Kingsley. There is a wounded Dr. Ian Malcolm bobblehead on her desk.
Brent Jones is a journalist who works with data and design. He joined the St. Louis Beacon after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2007. In the past five years, he has shot photos of the Pevely Dairy fire and flooding in Cairo, Ill.; compiled data on St. Louis' hottest days and whitest Christmases; edited a 30-minute video on music in Iraq; designed a 150+ page ebook; and produced audio from an improv show and more than 100 Beacon Roundtables. Jones lives in St. Louis, where he has completed a half- and full marathon and sings in a 16-member a capella madrigal ensemble.