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E.D. Tab, April 2005: Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2002–03
Appendix A: Technical Notes

The National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS) is an annual state-level collection of revenue and expenditure data for public education in grades prekindergarten through 12. It is part of the Common Core of Data (CCD) collection of surveys of administrative records data relating to public elementary and secondary education. These data are for fiscal year 2003, which in most states began on July 1, 2002, and ended on June 30, 2003. The fiscal year in Alabama started on October 1, and in Nebraska and Texas the fiscal year started on September 1. Revenues and expenditures are audited after the close of the fiscal year and are then submitted to NCES by each state education agency. NCES collects explanations for all missing and zero values from states. The data are processed and edited by NCES and verified by staff at each state education agency (SEA). NCES also publishes state totals from the school district-level finance data from the "Local Education Agency Finance Survey (F-33)." Those data will not agree with the data in this report due to the exclusion of some state education programs from the Census Bureau collection and minor differences in data definitions. Guam did not report any data for school year 2002–03.

Total expenditures include all types of expenditures by school districts and other public elementary/secondary education agencies. Researchers generally use current expenditures instead of total expenditures when comparing education spending between states or across time because current expenditures exclude expenditures for capital outlay, which tend to have dramatic increases and decreases from year to year. Also, the current expenditures commonly reported are for public elementary and secondary education only. Many school districts also support community services, adult education, private education, and other programs, which are included in total expenditures. These programs and the extent to which they are funded by school districts vary greatly both across states and within states.

NCES has made adjustments for missing data. Values that were missing and not reported elsewhere on a state's survey form were imputed. The method used for all imputations was to (a) create a subset of states reporting the item in question; (b) subtract the value for that item from each state's total expenditures; (c) for each state, compute the ratio of that item to the reduced total from step b; (d) compute the average of these ratios; (e) multiply the total expenditures of the state with the missing item by the average ratio; and (f) substitute the imputed estimate for the missing item and then recompute the subtotals and totals. Imputed data represent less than 2 percent of the expenditures in any state for which data were imputed.

Other adjustments were made when a single value was reported for a combination of two or more items. NCES distributed portions of the single state reported value to the missing item(s). In most cases, these distribution adjustments did not affect total revenues or total expenditures. For more information on these adjustments, the reader should refer to the documentation for the National Public Education Financial Survey: School Year 2002–03, stfis030c data file. Student membership data came from the CCD State Nonfiscal Survey, st021b data file.

The number of prekindergarten students was imputed in Alabama, California, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. As a result, total student counts for these states are flagged as imputed, and all expenditure per pupil figures are flagged as imputed even if the expenditures are exactly as reported by the state.

NCES accepts revisions to these data from state education agencies for 1 year, and releases the revised data at the end of this period.