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Analysis: Vast differences in how much St. Louis-area school districts are spending per student

LA Johnson

This story is part of the NPR reporting project “School Money,” a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member-station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

There's a nearly $15,000 gap in per student spending between the highest and lowest spending districts in the St. Louis area, according to a new analysis of school funding by NPR.

The analysis uses a cost of living index to calculate a national per student spending of almost $12,000 in 2013. The analysis applies that same formula to measure what individual districts are spending in relative dollars.

As with the rest of the country, the data show St. Louis has an uneven school funding landscape.

There are some obvious high points, the Clayton School District spent $19,681 per student, according the analysis. That’s compared to Clayton’s neighbor, St. Louis Public Schools, which spent $9,826 per student.

Go hereto learn more about Missouri's school funding system. Or go herefor an overview of school funding in America. 

You can click through the below map for a district by district spending comparison. Zoom in to get a closer look at the St. Louis area, or zoom out to find numbers for districts across the country. 


Tim Lloyd was a founding host of We Live Here from 2015 to 2018 and was the Senior Producer of On Demand and Content Partnerships until Spring of 2020.