Yet despite its low financial ranking, at least one state senator said money alone isn't the answer.
"Mississippians are tired of being ranked at the bottom when it comes to educating our children," said District 6 state Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo. "Many believe that we are not giving enough resources to our schools. When you take a closer look, however, you will see that our per pupil spending is 457 percent higher than the amount spent in 1980, yet our ACT scores remain flat."
The report shows Mississippi doling out $8,119 for each K-12 public school student. That's versus the national average of $10,615.
But because of its small population, the Magnolia State ranks among the country's top 25 for its public school spending-to-wealth ratio: $50.11 for every $1,000 in personal income. More than one-fifth of that comes from federal dollars - among the highest percentages in the nation. The rest comes from state and local sources.
Federal contributions are based on the number of rural, low-income and at-risk students attending public schools, said Casey Dye, director of Federal Programs for the Lee County School District.
"It's not surprising," Dye said, that Mississippi ranks No. 2 in the nation behind North Dakota for state public education budget with the highest ratio of federal funds.
The report doesn't link school spending to academic achievement scores or graduation rates, but a Daily Journal analysis of those rankings compared to the U.S. Census figures reveals a correlation.
As a whole, states that spent more than $10,000 per pupil had, on average, higher K-12 achievement rates, higher graduation rates and received fewer federal dollars than did states spending less than $10,000 per pupil.
And states that earned a 70 percent and above on K-12 achievement, on average, spent more per pupil, had higher graduation rates and earned fewer federal dollars than did states with lower K-12 achievement scores.
The Daily Journal obtained academic achievement rankings from Education Week's Quality Counts 2012 State Report Cards. It obtained graduation rates from the Building A Grad Nation 2012 Report by Civic Enterprises, John Hopkins University, America's Promise Alliance, Alliance for Excellent Education.
Striking exceptions to the general trends do, however, exist.
Mississippi's academic achievement score of 56.6 ranked second lowest in the nation, behind only Washington D.C., which spent the most per-pupil on public education. The District of Columbia earned a 56.3 achievement rank despite doling out $18,667 per pupil - more than twice the amount spent per child in Mississippi.
The highest academic ranking - 85.9 - came from Massachusetts, which spent $14,350 per student and had one of the nation's highest graduation rates. Wisconsin had the highest graduation rate at 90.7 percent. It spent $11,364 per pupil.
Read more on these numbers in today's NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.