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Overview of the 100 Largest School Districts

In the 2007–08 school year, there were 17,817 operational public school districts, 100,930 operational public schools, and almost 50 million students in public schools in the United States and jurisdictions (table 1). Additionally, there were 3.2 million full-time equivalent (FTE)2 teachers in the 2007–08 school year and almost 3 million high school completers in the 2006–07 school year.3 The 100 largest school districts comprised less than 1 percent of all public school districts but served 22 percent of all public elementary and secondary students. These school districts contained 17 percent of all public schools and employed 21 percent of all FTE teachers. In comparison, the 500 largest school districts comprised 3 percent of all public school districts, 32 percent of public schools, and served 43 percent (21.5 million) of all public elementary and secondary students in the United States and jurisdictions.

The 100 largest school districts ranged in size from 47,400 to 989,941 students in 2007–08 (table A-1). Twenty-eight of these districts served more than 100,000 students. The largest public school district was New York City Public Schools, New York, with 989,941 students enrolled in 1,454 schools. The next largest was Los Angeles Unified, California, with 693,680 students in 825 schools. The enrollment of each of these two largest districts was greater than the enrollment of each of the 26 smallest states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Department of Defense dependents schools (overseas and domestic).4

2 FTE is a proportion of a full-time position. FTE is not a head count. For example, two half-time employees represent one FTE.
3 In the CCD, data on high school completers are collected 1 year after the completions occur. For example, data on 2006–07 high school completers are collected in the 2007–08 data collection.
4 State enrollment data can be found in the following CCD data file: "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 2007–08, Version 1a and in Sable and Noel (2009), table 1.

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