Key Facts about Washington Public Schools: 2009-2010

The people of Washington are generous in funding our public schools, and by any reasonable measure public education in the state receives ample funding.  Education budgets are at historic highs, and per-pupil spending in Washington state is about $10,100 a year, the highest level ever. Yet because of restrictive work rules and a multi-layered bureaucracy, only 59 cents of every education dollar reaches the classroom, and public school students continue to lag in academic achievement. Detailed research and ideas for reform are available in our study, Eight Practical Ways to Reverse the Decline in Public Schools.

Key Facts About Washington Public Schools:

1.  Schools and students

  • Number of elementary and high school students:  989,252
  • Number of elementary and high schools:  2,275
  • Number of school districts:  295
  • Number of school districts with fewer than 200 students each: 61
  • Number of students in private education:  101,700

2.  Public school staffing

  • Number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) school employees:  101,608
  • Number of FTE classroom teachers:  48,300
  • Number of students per employee:  9.7
  • Number of students per classroom teacher:  20.5
  • Share of employees who are classroom teachers:  47%

3.  Education spending

  • Total education spending in 2009-10:  $10.09 billion
  • Share of each education dollar reaching the classroom:  59 cents
  • Per pupil spending in operating costs only:  $10,165
  • Per pupil spending in operating, capital, debt and transportation costs:  $12,866
  • Education spending as a share of the state General Fund:   42.8%
  • Average teacher pay for ten-month work year:  $60,950
  • Average teacher’s pay with benefits:  $79,235
  • Average district administrator pay with insurance benefits:  $117,069
  • Average district administrator pay with all benefits: $126,638
  • Average superintendent pay:  $129,588

4.  Student learning

  • 73.5% of public school students graduate on time
  • 28,000 more students are expected to drop out in 2010
  • 52% of students entering college are unprepared in math, English or reading

5.  2009 Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test results:

  • 26% of fourth graders failed in reading
  • 39% of fourth graders failed in writing
  • 47% of fourth graders failed in math
  • 32% of eighth graders failed in reading
  • 49% of eighth graders failed in math
  • 49% of eighth graders failed in science

Washington Public Schools: Total General Fund Spending per Pupil

Download a pdf of Key Facts about Washington Public Schools here.