Brandon Dutcher & Curtis Shelton | February 8, 2023

Oklahoma public schools spend $12,967 per student

Brandon Dutcher & Curtis Shelton

New results (updated yesterday) from a monthly tracking poll commissioned by EdChoice and conducted by the firm Morning Consult indicate that 57 percent of Oklahoma parents believe “public school funding is too low.” However, when informed that “on average, Oklahoma pays $9,395 per student attending public school each year,” the number drops to 41 percent of Oklahoma parents who say public school funding is too low.

Doubtless that drop would be even steeper if parents were informed that, in fact, Oklahoma spends $12,967 per student each year.

Here’s the calculation. According to Oklahoma State Department of Education data from the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System, school district expenditures in 2022 totaled $9,058,129,282.81. Student enrollment is 698,577. Thus, the per-student expenditure is $12,967.

It’s interesting to note that, although some elite private schools in our state are very expensive, the average private-school tuition in Oklahoma is $6,591 for elementary schools and $7,620 for high schools.

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

Curtis Shelton Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton

Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.

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