Florida remained in the back of the classroom with a “F” in a new report highlighting school finances across the nation.
Florida’s flunking grade resulted in a ranking of 45th out of all the states in terms of spending on its kindergarten-through-high school system, according to Education Week, a national, nonpartisan publication. The national average school-financing grade was a “D.”
Florida spent an average of $9,764 per student, compared to a national average of $12,756, the report shows. Vermont spent the most at $20,540, while Utah spent the least at $7,635.
“Florida’s grades are much like last year’s. We get an ‘F’ on spending, ranking 45th in the nation. In 2018, Florida also earned an ‘F’ on spending, ranking 44th,” said Joni Branch, a spokeswoman for the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.
Florida schools earned an overall financial ranking of a “D-plus” for 39th in the nation, compared to a national average of a “C,” the report shows.
The “F” score in spending was offset by Florida’s “A” score for distributing its funding in an even-handed manner. The state’s funding formula is the best in the nation for balancing money between wealthy school districts and less wealthy districts, the report shows.
“The bright spot for Florida is equity – Education Week finds that we do a good job spreading around the money we have,” Branch said in a statement. “Florida rated an ‘A’ on equity, placing first in the national rankings. The U.S. overall received a ‘B-plus.’ In 2018, Florida earned an ‘A-minus’ for equity.”
Another recent national report, by the Washington D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, also gave Florida’s education spending failing marks.
The nonpartisan research and policy institute analyzed how state education finances recovered after the great recession in 2008, finding that many states provide less K-12 funding to schools compared to almost a decade ago.
Florida ranked dead last in the group’s analysis.