Minnesota public schools are spending above the rate of inflation even as they are losing students, according to a recent report by the state auditor.
The study examined financial trends in the state’s 346 school districts and 101 charter schools, and their enrollment data between 2001 and 2005. It found that per-pupil expenses over that period rose an average of 16 percent—an increase of 6.7 percent when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, enrollment dropped by 2.3 percent.
State Auditor Patricia Anderson said in a statement that special education costs and employee benefits were the largest contributors to the increased spending.
Spending on special education increased 33 percent between 2001 and 2005, and employee costs rose by 29.7 percent during that period. Student activities and athletics posted a spending increase of 23.4 percent in that time, while spending on instruction rose 18.7 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the July 26, 2006 edition of Education Week