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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2008

Isles spend $9,876 per student

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer



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Hawai'i ranks 16th nationwide for the amount of money spent per pupil on public education, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hawai'i spent $9,876 per student in 2006, compared with the national average of $9,138. While New York topped the list at $14,884, Hawai'i outspent some of the largest states, including California and Texas.

The survey comes while some state lawmakers are pushing for a comprehensive management audit of the state Department of Education, questioning why education spending has increased substantially in the past decade while enrollment has declined.

Hawai'i's spending per student increased nearly 9 percent in 2006 from 2005.

Over the past decade, the DOE has seen its total operating budget grow from $972 million in 1999 to $2.34 billion this school year.

Education officials have said that a number of factors have contributed to the increase in the DOE budget, including teacher salary raises, inflation and federally mandated spending. Another factor is that services that used to be handled by other state agencies were transferred to the DOE's budget.

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.