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Projections of Education Statistics to 2016
NCES 2008-060
December 2007

Section 6. Expenditures of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: Current Expenditures

Between 2003–04 and 2016–17, increases are expected in the current expenditures and current expenditures per pupil of public elementary and secondary schools (figure L; reference figures 31 and 32 and tables 34 and 35).

Figure L. Actual and middle alternative projected numbers for current expenditures in public elementary and secondary schools in 2004–05 dollars: Selected years, 1991–92 through 2016–17

Figure L. Actual and middle alternative projected numbers for current expenditures in public elementary and secondary schools in 2004–05 dollars: Selected years, 1991–92 through 2016–17

NOTE: Data were placed in constant 2004–05 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (BLS, U.S. Dept. of Labor).
SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Education, NCES, Common Core of Data, "National Public Education Finance Survey," various years; National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Model; and Elementary and Secondary School Current Expenditures Model. (See reference table 34.)

Current expenditures

Current expenditures in constant 2004–05 dollars increased 42 percent from 1991–92 to 2003–04, a period of 12 years.

From 2003–04 to 2016–17, a period of 13 years, current expenditures in constant 2004–05 dollars are projected to increase

  • 43 percent, to $592 billion, in the middle alternative projections;
  • 36 percent, to $565 billion, in the low alternative projections; and
  • 49 percent, to $618 billion, in the high alternative projections.

Other factors that may affect the projections

Many factors that may affect future school expenditures and teacher salaries were not considered in the production of these projections. Such factors include policy initiatives, as well as potential changes in the distribution of elementary and secondary teachers as older teachers retire and are replaced by younger teachers.
Figure M. Actual and middle alternative projected numbers for current expenditures per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools in 2004–05 dollars: Selected years, 1991–92 through 2016–17

Figure M. Actual and middle alternative projected numbers for current expenditures per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools in 2004–05 dollars: Selected years, 1991–92 through 2016–17

NOTE: Data were placed in constant 2004–05 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (BLS, U.S. Dept. of Labor).
SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Education, NCES, Common Core of Data, "National Public Education Finance Survey," various years; National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Model; and Elementary and Secondary School Current Expenditures Model. (See reference table 34.)

Current expenditures per pupil

Current expenditures per pupil in fall enrollment in constant 2004–05 dollars increased 23 percent from 1991–92 to 2003–04.

From 2003–04 to 2016–17, current expenditures in constant 2004–05 dollars per pupil in fall enrollment are projected to increase

  • 30 percent, to $11,100, in the middle alternative projections;
  • 24 percent, to $10,600, in the low alternative projections; and
  • 35 percent, to $11,600, in the high alternative projections.

Constant versus current dollars

Throughout this section, projections of current expenditures are presented in constant 2004–05 dollars. The reference tables, later in this report, present these data both in constant 2004–05 dollars and in current dollars. The projections were developed in constant dollars and then placed in current dollars using projections for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (table B-6 in appendix B). Three alternative sets of projections for the CPI were used, one with each set of projections (low, middle, and high).

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