CONCORD, NH – New data shows that New Hampshire’s average cost per student is shifting closer to typical trends following a substantial spike during the pandemic, however the costs are still rising more quickly than they have historically.
“This week, the New Hampshire Department of Education released its newest cost per pupil data for the 2021-2022 school year. The new statewide average cost per pupil of $19,399.97* is a 5.24 percent increase from the year prior,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner.
Total operating expenses for the 2021-2022 school year were about $3.5 billion in New Hampshire.
Pre-pandemic, the cost per pupil in New Hampshire increased, on average, about 3.1 percent (1.5 percent adjusted for inflation) each year from 2012 to 2019. However, for the 2020-2021 school year, the state average cost per pupil was $18,434 – a 9.57 percent increase from the year prior – reflecting an increase associated with federal and state COVID-relief funds.
With the newest cost per pupil increase of 5.24 percent, it is important to note that student enrollment across the state, as previously reported here, is steadily declining with 161,755 students now enrolled in New Hampshire’s public schools. As schools prepare their future budgets, local school districts will be grappling with high inflation costs, as well as the expiration of extraordinary levels of COVID-relief funding.
The statewide average for New Hampshire’s cost per pupil has increased by 78.4 percent since 2000; during this same time frame, public school enrollment dropped by an average of 21 percent statewide.
Included in this press release is an attachment that compares student enrollment for individual school districts and their cost per pupil throughout the past 20 years. Also attached is a summary of the cost per pupil for each district.
*The cost per pupil represents, with certain adjustments, current expenditures from all funding sources (local, state and federal) associated with the daily operation of schools. Payments to other school districts and private schools have been subtracted, as well as capital items, bond interest and facility construction. Revenues from the sales of lunches have also been excluded.