A comprehensive understanding of the financing of public education is crucial to making informed decisions about public elementary and secondary education in the United States. In order to better understand the economics of education, detailed financial data are collected and analyzed at the local, state, and national levels. These data provide an illustration of how revenues for public schools are raised and allocated within each of the states.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) extensively revised its collection of public education financial data beginning with the fiscal year (FY) 1989 (school year 1988–89) collection. The revised state-level collection, a component of the NCES Common Core of Data (CCD), was named the National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS). The new survey greatly increased the amount of detailed data available, which improved the quality and comparability of the data overall by clearly indicating what was being reported and included in the totals and subtotals. NCES recently reviewed all of the NPEFS data and developed file documentation so that the data could be made available on the Internet. In the FY 89 collection, states were given the option of using the old survey instrument, and several states exercised this option. The FY 90 collection was the first time that all of the states and the District of Columbia reported using the new NPEFS survey form. This report looks at data from the FY 90 collection cycle through the FY 02 collection cycle.
The report presents a basic analysis of 13 years of time-series elementary and secondary education financial data utilizing NPEFS data. It differs from other reports based on NPEFS data in that these time-series data are examined for changes over a period of 13 years. These data also have been adjusted to FY 02 dollars to account for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Unadjusted data are presented in appendix C.