DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s per-pupil spending rose by one of the nation’s lowest rates in 2021, according to data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nationally, spending per student jumped upward from 2020 to 2021 at twice the rate it usually does. Spending rose about 3.5% annually each of the previous four years, but 7% from 2020 to 2021.
Much of this can be chalked up to the COVID-era influx of dollars to school districts from elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds, which were used to address learning loss. Colorado school districts received billions from this funding.
In Colorado, though, the per pupil spending rose 5.6% in the same time frame, the 11th lowest rate among U.S. states. Maine’s per-pupil spending rose 16%.
The relatively low funding increase halted a trend. In each of the previous three years, Colorado’s per-pupil spending had risen by some of the nation’s highest rates.
Still, the growth in 2021 raised Colorado’s ranking among other U.S. states in terms of per-pupil spending overall. Colorado spent the 13th lowest amount per pupil in 2016. In 2021, that had risen to the 19th lowest.