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Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States: 2004–05
NCES 2008-335
April 2008


This report describes the characteristics of the 100 largest public elementary and secondary school districts in the United States and its jurisdictions. These districts are defined as the 100 largest according to the size of their student population. The information in this report was provided by state education agency officials to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for inclusion in the Common Core of Data (CCD). The report uses data from the 2004–05 school year and includes student membership and staff in public schools and school districts in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Bureau of Indian Education, the Department of Defense dependents schools (overseas and domestic), and the four outlying areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).1 This report also includes graduate counts for the 2003–04 school year and revenues and expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2004.

Highlights of the report include the following:

  • The 100 largest public school districts, representing less than 1 percent (0.6 percent) of all school districts in the United States and jurisdictions, were responsible for the education of 23 percent of all public school students (table 1).
  • The 100 largest public school districts employed 20 percent of the United States and jurisdictions' public school full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers and contained 17 percent of all public schools and 20 percent of public high school completers (table 1).
  • The 100 largest public school districts had larger average school enrollments compared to the average for all school districts (702 vs. 518). In addition to larger school sizes, the 100 largest school districts also had a higher median pupil/teacher ratio than the average school district (16.2 vs. 15.5) (table 1).
  • Four states-California, Florida, Texas, and New York-accounted for half of the students in the 100 largest public school districts (table D-3).
  • The percentage of students in the 100 largest public school districts who were other than White, non-Hispanic was 71 percent, compared to 43 percent of students in all school districts (table 2).
  • In FY 2004, current expenditures per pupil in the 100 largest public school districts ranged from lows of $4,351 in the Puerto Rico Department of Education, Puerto Rico and $5,608 in the Jordan School District, Utah to a high of $17,337 in the Boston School District, Massachusetts (table A-14).


1 In this report, the term "United States and jurisdictions" refers to these entities.