There were 17,775 operating local education agencies (LEAs) in 2007-08 (table 1). In
the 2007-08 school year, 149 LEAs were closed and 183 were newly opened.
Most of these operating agencies were regular school districts (13,924) that were
responsible for educating students residing within their jurisdiction. A total of 1,399 were
administrative or service agencies that typically provide services to school districts. A
total of 2,012 were independent charter agencies in which all the associated schools are
charter schools. An additional 440 agencies were operated by the state or some other
entity (table 2).
Of the approximately 49.2 million students2 served by LEAs, 48.2 million attended
schools in regular school districts (table 2). Nearly 1 million students were enrolled in
LEAs other than regular school districts, including approximately 212,000 students3
enrolled in administrative and service agencies, approximately 699,000 students enrolled
in independent charter agencies, and approximately 89,000 enrolled in state- and
federally operated and other types of agencies.
A total of 10,625 operating regular school districts (76.3 percent) were "unified," that is,
responsible for all of grades prekindergarten through 12 (derived from table 3). There is
not universal agreement on what grades constitute "elementary" and "secondary"
districts. Using grade span as an indicator of a district's instructional level, the 468
districts that had a low grade of 7 or higher and a high grade of 12 are considered
secondary districts, while the 2,560 that had a low grade of prekindergarten or
kindergarten or higher and a high grade up to 9 are considered elementary (derived from
table 3). An additional 271 districts served some other combination of grades.
Twenty-seven of the 13,924 regular school districts enrolled 100,000 or more students
(table 4). While these largest school districts were less than 1 percent of all districts, they
served 12.5 percent of students receiving public education (derived from table 4; table 5).
Some regular school districts were very small. A total of 909 regular school districts (6.5
percent of districts with membership) enrolled fewer than 100 students (derived from
table 4). These districts accounted for less than 1 percent of students (table 5).
The majority of regular school districts, 7,608, were in rural locales (table 6). An
additional 2,760 were in suburban locales; 2,516 were in town locales; and 761 were in
A total of 38.4 percent of students attended schools in suburban school districts. City
school districts served an additional 30.3 percent of students; rural school districts served
18.9 percent of students; and town districts served 12.4 percent of students (table 6).
2 Counts of student are rounded to the nearest 100,000. 3 Counts of students are rounded to the nearest 1,000.