Report Roundup

School Spending: Charters vs. Non-Charters

“Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2013-14”

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Schools loosened their belts and spent a little more in 2013-14, in spite of lower federal support, according to the latest federal data on school district spending.

In fiscal 2014, the median school district spent about $10,300 per student, up about 1 percent from fiscal 2012. The uptick was driven by higher spending in suburbs, towns, and rural areas; urban districts actually spent a little less.

At the same time, federal support for those districts dropped by more than 4 percent, to $54.2 billion, from fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2014. In 16 states, more than 40 percent of school district budgets come from local property taxes and city or county funds.

School Spending: Charters vs. Non-Charters

Independent charter school districts spent 10 percent less per student than non-charter districts, according to federal data for the 2014 fiscal year. The biggest gaps were seen in instruction-related spending.

The report comes from the U.S. Department of Education's Common Core of Data, which collects annual data on school spending and other indicators in more than 18,600 school districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Of the 25 states that reported high-quality financial data for both charter and noncharter school districts, the numbers showed that charter schools spent 10 percent less per student on average than traditional district schools. The gap was most apparent in instruction.

The 73,000-student Alpine district in Utah had the lowest spending among the 100 largest districts in the country, at just over $5,600 per student in fiscal 2014. That was little more than a quarter of the per-pupil spending in Boston's or New York City's public schools, which each topped $21,000.

Vol. 36, Issue 23, Page 5

Published in Print: March 1, 2017, as School Spending: Charters vs. Non-Charters
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