There were 17,911 operating local education agencies in 2010–11 (table 1). In the 2010–11 school year, 207 local education agencies closed and 218 opened for the first time.
Most operating agencies were regular school districts (13,592) that were responsible for educating students residing within their jurisdiction (table 1).2 Local education agencies were responsible for the education of 49.4 million students A total of 1,543 operating agencies were administrative or service agencies that typically provide services to school districts (table 2). A total of 2,359 were independent charter agencies in which all the associated schools were charter schools. An additional 417 agencies were operated by a state, federal, or other agency.
Local education agencies were responsible for the education of 49.4 million students3 in the 2010–11 school year (table 2). Regular school districts were responsible for 48.1 million students. Other types of school districts were responsible for 1.3 million students; these included administrative and service agencies (300,000 students4), independent charter agencies (952,000 students), and state- and federally operated and other types of agencies (56,000 students).
A total of 10,990 operating regular school districts (80.9 percent) were "combined" or "unified," that is, responsible for the education of students in all of grades prekindergarten through 12 (table 3). There is no universal agreement on what grades constitute "elementary" and "secondary" districts. Using grade span as an indicator of a districtís instructional level, there were 471 secondary districts that had a low grade of 7 or higher and a high grade of 12, and 2,043 elementary districts that had a low grade of prekindergarten or kindergarten or higher and a high grade up to 9.
Of the 13,592 regular school districts, 26 were responsible for 100,000 or more students (table 4). While these largest school districts were less than one-tenth of a percent of all districts, they served 12.3 percent of students receiving public education (table 5).
Some regular school districts were very small. A total of 912 regular school districts (6.7 percent of districts with positive membership) were responsible for 1 to 99 students (table 4). These districts accounted for 0.1 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.