A state's investment over 13 years of a student's K-12 education is substantial, and so is the investment gap among states. A 2014 high school graduate from New York received $240,961 worth of school expenditures over 13 years of schooling (adjusted to 2014 dollars), compared with $85,906 spent on a graduate from Utah. In California, a high school graduate in 2014 received $128,836 in educational investment, about $20,000 shy of the national average and $112,000 less than a New York graduate. The purchasing power of a dollar varies significantly among the states, to the detriment of students living in a high cost state like California.

This wasn't always the case in California. A high school graduate in the 1982-83 school year experienced the funding stream before and after Proposition 13 was passed in 1978. An average of $89,635 was invested in that graduate, about $9,000 higher than the national average. However, the first child to graduate in a post-Proposition 13 funding world in the 1990-91 school year received $325 more than the national average. Two years later K-12 spending per student in California would dip below the national average and remain there through 2014-15, the year of the most current data.

Chart by John C. Osborn. Updated by Daniel J. Willis, Justin Allen and Yuxuan Xie

Note: Each year in the charts and graphs refers to both the calendar year and the fiscal year. Thus, 2013 incorporated data from the fiscal year 2013-14 (July 1 through June 30) as well as the calendar year 2013.