There were 17,807 operating local education agencies in 2009–10 (table 1). In the 2009–10 school year, 298 local education agencies closed and 222 opened for the first time.
Most operating agencies were regular school districts (13,629) that were responsible for educating students residing within their jurisdiction (table 1).2 A total of 1,521 were administrative or service agencies that typically provide services to school districts (table 2). A total of 2,236 were charter agencies in which all the associated schools were charter schools. An additional 421 agencies were operated by a state, federal, or other agency.
Of the 49.2 million students3 served by local education agencies, 48.0 million attended schools in regular school districts (table 2). Local education agencies other than regular school districts enrolled more than 1.2 million students, including 279,000 students4 enrolled in administrative and service agencies, 877,000 students enrolled in charter agencies, and 71,000 enrolled in state- and federally operated and other types of agencies.
A total of 10,629 operating regular school districts (78.0 percent) were "combined" or "unified," that is, responsible for all of grades prekindergarten through 12 (table 3). There was no universal agreement on what grades constitute "elementary" and "secondary" districts. Using grade span as an indicator of a district's instructional level, the 472 districts that had a low grade of 7 or higher and a high grade of 12 were considered secondary districts, while the 2,393 that had a low grade of prekindergarten or kindergarten or higher and a high grade up to 9 were considered elementary. An additional 135 districts do not have a grade range since they serve students enrolled in other districts.
Of the 13,629 regular school districts, twenty-six enrolled 100,000 or more students (table 4). While these largest school districts were less than 1 percent of all districts, they served 12.3 percent of students receiving public education (derived from table 4 and table 5).
Some regular school districts were very small. A total of 904 regular school districts (6.6 percent of districts with positive enrollment) enrolled 99 or fewer students (derived from table 4). These districts accounted for less than 1 percent of students (table 5).
2 This count includes districts that educate students that are reported by other districts.
3 Counts of students are rounded to the nearest 100,000.
4 Counts of students are rounded to the nearest 1,000.