The New Jersey Department of Education has released the 2015 Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending, intended to inform New Jersey residents about how their tax dollars are spent in their local school district.

The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending provides the public with information about school districts’ annual budgets. Included are two types of total expenditures:

  • Total per-pupil spending, which details all district expenditures, including items such as transportation and out-of-district special education, state and/or federally required expenditures that can vary widely among districts; and
  • Budgetary costs per pupil, which only includes costs that are similar among school districts.

For the 2013-2014 school year, the average total cost per pupil in the state is $19,211. This is 1.6 percent higher than the prior year’s average of $18,909.

“The annual spending guide continues to be a valuable source of clear, useful data for taxpayers who want information about spending in our schools,” said Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe. “This guide provides a detailed break-down of where all taxpayers’ dollars are spent on our schools, providing a complete picture of spending in every school district in New Jersey.”

The guide also compares school districts of similar size and ranks districts in 14 spending categories, such as total administrative costs and total classroom instruction, as well as four staffing indicators such as student-teacher ratios and ratios of faculty to administrative staff. Costs are ranked on a per-pupil basis from low to high.

The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending can be found online.

The guide was first produced in the spring of 1997 as the Comparative Spending Guide. The guide’s name was changed in 2011, when the Department of Education developed a new total spending measure that continues to provide a more inclusive representation of district and state expenditures.