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Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2003-04

NCES 2008-352
July 2006

Appendix A: Technical Notes—National Public Education Financial Survey

The National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS) is part of the Common Core of Data (CCD) collection of surveys of administrative records data relating to public elementary and secondary education. 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). Tables 1, 2, and 3 use data from the NPEFS survey. All states and other jurisdictions submitted NPEFS data.

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. Adjustments regarding current expenditures 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: Fiscal Year 2004, stfis041a data file at

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

The number of prekindergarten students was imputed in California and Tennessee. As a result, total student counts for these states are flagged as imputed, and all expenditure per student figures for these states are flagged as imputed even if the expenditures are exactly as reported by the state. Student membership data came from the CCD State Nonfiscal Survey, st031b data file.