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Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary Districts in the United States: 2001-2002


Alternative Education School
A public elementary/secondary school that: (1) addresses needs of students that typically cannot be met in a regular school, (2) provides nontraditional education, (3) serves as an adjunct to a regular school, or 4) falls outside of the categories of regular, special education, or vocational education.

Bureau of Indian Affairs schools and districts
A school or district that is directly funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior.

Charter school
A school which provides free public elementary and/or secondary education to eligible students under a specific charter granted by the state legislature or other appropriate authority, and designated by such authority to be a charter school. Charter schools can be administered by regular school districts, state education agencies, or chartering organizations. They are reported on the CCD by the type of district that administers them.

Current expenditures
Funds spent for operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such operating expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay and interest on school debt.

Defined by the CCD as those students who were enrolled in school at some time during the previous school year; were not enrolled at the beginning of the current school year; have not graduated from high school or completed a state- or district-approved educational program; and do not meet any of the following exclusionary conditions: transfer to another public school district, private school, or state- or district-approved education program; temporary absence due to suspension or school-approved education program; or death. For a more detailed description of dropouts and dropout rates seePublic High School Dropouts and Completers From the Common Core of Data: School Years 1991-92 through 1997-98 (NCES 2002-317).

English Language Learner (ELL) students
Individuals who:
--were not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; or
--come from environments where a language other than English is dominant; or
--are American Indians and Alaskan Natives and who come from environments where a language other than English has had a significant impact on their level of English language proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, have sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language, to deny such individuals the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society.

Federal revenues
Include direct grants-in-aid to school or agencies, funds distributed through a state or intermediate agency, and revenues in lieu of taxes to compensate a school district for nontaxable federal institutions within a district's boundary.

Free and reduced-price lunch eligible
Number of students who are eligible for the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program under the National School Lunch Act. Any school that reported 100 percent eligible students is adjusted for reasons of student confidentiality. Caution should be used when interpreting these data. Four states did not report free and reduced-price lunch eligibility, and others may have included reduced price lunch students or reported participation instead of eligibility data.

Guidance counselors
Professional staff assigned specific duties and school time for counseling students and parents, addressing learning problems, evaluating student abilities, and assisting students on career and personal development.

High School Completers
Students who completed the course of public elementary and secondary education offered by the school district and who received a high school diploma, or who met other requirements of completion as defined by state law or policy during the period September 2000 through August 2001.

Individual Education Program (IEP)
As used here, refers to written instructional plan for students with disabilities designated as special education students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-Part B) which includes: (1) statement of present levels of educational performance of a child; (2) statement of annual goals, including short-term instructional objectives; (3) statement of specific educational services to be provided and the extent to which the child will be able to participate in regular educational programs; (4) projected date for initiation and anticipated duration of services; and (5) appropriate objectives, criteria and evaluation procedures and schedules for determining, on at least an annual basis, whether instructional objectives are being achieved.

Instructional expenditures
Current expenditures for activities directly associated with the interaction between teachers and students. These include teacher salaries and benefits, supplies (such as textbooks), and purchased instructional services.

Instructional support staff
Includes instructional coordinators and supervisors and instructional aides.

LEA (district) administrators
Local education agency superintendents, deputy and assistant superintendents, and other persons with district-wide responsibilities such as business managers; and administrative assistants.

Library/media staff
Professional staff members who are assigned specific duties and school time for professional library and media service activities. Includes library/media specialists and support staff.

Local revenues
Include revenues from such sources as local property and nonproperty taxes, investments, and revenues from student activities, textbook sales, transportation and tuition fees, and food service revenues.

Magnet school
Regardless of the source of funding, a magnet school or program is a special school or program designed to attract students of different racial/ethnic backgrounds for the purpose of reducing, preventing, or eliminating racial isolation and/or to provide an academic or social focus on a particular theme.

Migrant students
A migrant student as defined under 34 CFR 200.40:
--is younger than 22 (and has not graduated from high school or does not hold a high school equivalency certificate). If the child is too young to attend school-sponsored educational programs, but is old enough to benefit from an organized instructional program; or
--a migrant agricultural worker or a migrant fisher or has a parent, spouse, or guardian who is a migrant agricultural worker or a migrant fisher; or
performs, or has a parent, spouse, or guardian who performs, qualifying agricultural or fishing employment as a principal means of livelihood; or
--has moved within the preceding 36 months to obtain or to accompany or join a parent, spouse, or guardian to obtain, temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work; or
--has moved from one school district to another; or in a state that is comprised of a single school district, has moved from one administrative area to another within such district; or resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles, and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence to engage in a fishing activity. (Provision E currently applies only to Alaska.)

Outlying Areas
Include: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Other staff
Includes support staff for local education agencies, schools, student support services and other areas such as data processing, health, transportation, etc.

Per-pupil expenditures
Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education in a state divided by the student membership. The numbers reported here, based on membership, can be expected to be smaller than per-pupil expenditures based on average daily attendance because the membership counts are generally larger than average daily attendance.

Public school
An institution that provides educational services and has the following characteristics:
--has one or more grade groups (prekindergarten through grade 12) or is ungraded;
--has one or more teachers to give instruction;
--is located in one or more buildings or sites;
--has an assigned administrator;
--receives public funds as primary support; and
--is operated by an education agency.

Pupil/teacher ratio
The ratio of pupils to teachers in a school district, based on the total number of pupils (student membership) and the total full-time-equivalent (FTE) number of teachers reported in the schools associated with the school district. The pupil/teacher ratio is not a class size but rather a district level measure of pupils and teachers.

Pupils in membership
Count of all students whose names have been entered on the roll, minus those whose names have been withdrawn, on or before the closest school day to October 1. Membership counts at the district level may include students for whom the district is providing educational services through some other agency or institution.

Race/ethnicity of groups other than White, non-Hispanic
Includes at least one student of a minority race/ethnicity. These race/ethnicities include: American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and Black, non-Hispanic.

Regular school
A public elementary/secondary school that does not focus primarily on vocational, special, or alternative education. It is possible for a regular school, as it is for a vocational, special, or alternative education school, to have no students in membership.

Regular school district
Agency responsible for providing free public education for school-age children residing within its jurisdiction. This category excludes local supervisory unions that provide management services for a group of associated school districts; regional education service agencies that typically provide school districts with research, testing, and data processing services; state and federally operated school districts; and other agencies that do not fall into these groupings.

Additions to assets, which do not incur an obligation that must be met at some future date, do not represent exchanges of fixed assets, and are available for expenditure by the local education agencies in the state. Revenues include funds from local, intermediate, state, and federal sources.

School administrators
Staff members whose activities are concerned with directing and managing the operation of a particular school.

Schools having membership
Schools at which students are counted for administrative purposes, even though the students may attend one or more other schools for all or part of their school day.

Special Education School
A public elementary/secondary school that: (1) focuses primarily on special education, including instruction for any of the following: hard of hearing, deaf, speech-impaired, health-impaired, orthopedically impaired, mentally retarded, seriously emotionally disturbed, multi-handicapped, visually handicapped, deaf and blind; and (2) adapts curriculum, materials or instruction for students served.

State revenues
Include both direct funds from state governments and funds in lieu of taxation. Revenues in lieu of taxes are paid to compensate a school district for nontaxable state institutions or facilities within the district's boundary.

A professional school staff member who instructs students and maintains daily student attendance records.

Title I school
A Title I school is a school designated under appropriate state and federal regulations as being high poverty and eligible for participation in programs authorized by Title I of Public Law 103-382.

Title I school-wide
A program in which all the students in a school are designated under appropriate state and federal regulations as eligible for participation in programs authorized by Title I of Public Law 103-382.

Vocational Education School
A public elementary/secondary school that focuses primarily on vocational, technical, or career education, and provides education and training in one or more semi-skilled or technical occupations