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Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States: 2006-07
NCES 2009-342
June 2009

Highlights

This report describes the characteristics of the 100 largest public elementary and secondary school districts in the United States and its jurisdictions. These districts are defined as the 100 largest according to the size of their student population. The information in this report was provided by state education agency officials to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for inclusion in the Common Core of Data (CCD). The report uses data from the 2006–07 school year and includes student membership1 and staff in public schools and school districts in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Bureau of Indian Education, the Department of Defense dependents schools (overseas and domestic), and the four outlying areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).2 This report also includes graduate counts, high school dropout rates, and graduation rates for the 2005–06 school year and revenues and expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2006.

Highlights of the report include the following:

  • The 100 largest public school districts, representing less than 1 percent (0.6 percent) of all school districts in the United States and jurisdictions, were responsible for the education of 22 percent of all public school students (table 1).
  • The 100 largest public school districts employed 22 percent of the United States and jurisdictions’ public school full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers and contained 17 percent of all public schools and 17 percent of public high school completers (table 1).
  • The 100 largest public school districts had larger average school enrollments compared to the average for all school districts (687 vs. 518) as well as a higher median pupil/teacher ratio (15.6 vs. 15.2) (table 1).
  • The majority of students in the 100 largest school districts were Hispanic or Black, non-Hispanic (63 percent) (table 2). The percentage of students in the 100 largest public school districts who were Hispanic was 36 percent, compared to 21 percent of students in all school districts. The percentage of students in the 100 largest school districts who were Black, non-Hispanic was 27 percent, compared to 17 percent of students in all school districts.
  • In FY 2006, current expenditures per pupil in the 100 largest public school districts ranged from lows of $5,719 in the Puerto Rico Department of Education and $6,033 in the Jordan District, Utah to highs of $19,749 in Boston, Massachusetts and $18,365 in Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia (table A-13).
  • Three states—California, Florida, and Texas—accounted for 45 percent of the 100 largest public school districts (table D-3).

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1The terms “student membership” and “enrollment” are used interchangeably in this report.
2In this report, the term “United States and jurisdictions” refers to these entities.

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