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Selected Findings: Fiscal Year 2008

  • Regular school districts had median total revenues per pupil of $11,259 in fiscal year (FY) 2008 (table 1). The federal range ratio2 was 1.9, which indicates that the magnitude of the difference between total revenues per pupil at the 5th ($8,135) and 95th ($23,611) percentiles of districts was approximately 190 percent of the value at the 5th percentile. Independent charter school districts had median total revenues per pupil of $9,017 in FY 08, with a federal range ratio of 1.7.
  • For regular school districts, median current expenditures per pupil were $9,509 in FY 08 (table 2). Median expenditures per pupil on instruction and instruction-related activities in regular school districts were $6,100. For independent charter school districts, median current expenditures per pupil were $8,173 in FY 08; median expenditures per pupil on instruction and instruction-related activities were $4,490.
  • In FY 08, the lowest five percent of regular school districts in the United States had current expenditures per pupil of $7,155 or less, while the highest 5 percent had current expenditures per pupil of $18,477 or more, with a federal range ratio of 1.6 (table 3). The lowest five percent of independent charter school districts had current expenditures per pupil of $5,207 or less, while the highest 5 percent had current expenditures per pupil of $16,535 or more, with a federal range ratio of 2.2.
  • Approximately 78 percent of school districts are unified school districts, providing both elementary and secondary education services and instruction. Unified districts had median current expenditures per pupil of $9,288 in FY 08, with a federal range ratio of 1.4, while unified independent charter school districts, representing approximately 24 percent of all independent charter school districts, had median current expenditures per pupil of $7,796, with a federal range ratio of 2.8 (table 4).
  • In FY 08, 22 states reported data for independent charter school districts. Median current expenditures per pupil ranged from $6,434 in Utah to $15,117 in New Jersey for regular noncharter school districts that included no charter schools (table 5). Median current expenditures per pupil ranged from $5,573 in Idaho to $15,544 in the District of Columbia for independent charter school districts in the same set of states.
  • Independent charter school districts had greater variation in spending compared to regular school districts in FY 08 for the 4 expenditure categories for which the federal range ratio could be calculated (table 6) (e.g., the federal range ratio for total expenditures per pupil was 1.6 for regular school districts and 2.4 for independent charter school districts).
  • In FY 08, current expenditures per pupil in the 100 largest public school districts ranged from a low of $5,123 in Alpine School District, Utah, to a high of $20,324 in Boston City Schools, Massachusetts (table 7).
  • Approximately $47.6 billion was received by local education agencies from the federal government for public elementary and secondary education in FY 08 (table 8).

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2 The federal range ratio is the difference between the amount per pupil of the district at the 95th percentile and the district at the 5th percentile divided by the amount per pupil for the district at the 5th percentile. More information about the federal range ratio can be found in Appendix A: Methodology and Technical Notes.

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