Austin Schools spending slightly less per pupil than U.S. average

Austin Public Schools is slightly below average — in spending money, that is.

According to district officials, Austin spent about $10,500 per pupil last year based on unreserved general fund spending. That’s slightly less than the national average of $10, 618 per pupil based on 2009-2010 funding levels, according to U.S. Census educational finance reports released Thursday. Minnesota spent about $10,644 per pupil in 2010.

Finance and Operations Director Mark Stotts cautioned against reading into the numbers too much, as the $10,553 per pupil average doesn’t take into account capital outlay projects, and the district would spend higher amounts based on grants or an increase in state or federal aid.

“What you’re not seeing is the revenue side, and the fact that we get money for those students,” he said.

Almost 80 percent of Austin’s funding comes from state aid. Minnesota currently owes about $2 billion to schools in deferred aid payments.

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