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Selected Findings: School Year 2014–15

  • Table 1 provides counts of schools by their operating status and type. There were 98,456 operating public elementary and secondary schools in SY 2015–16; this number includes 1,253 new schools that opened for the first time. States reported that 1,160 schools had closed since SY 2014–15. Most operating schools were regular schools (89,644) that were primarily responsible for instruction in the standard curriculum and other areas. An additional 2,011 schools focused primarily on special education services; 1,419 schools were identified as vocational schools; and 5,382 were identified as alternative education schools.
  • Table 1 also provides counts of LEAs by their operating status and type. There were 18,328 operating LEAs in SY 2015–16, including 274 new agencies that opened for the first time. States reported that 195 LEAs had closed since SY 2014–15. Most operating agencies were regular school districts (13,584) that were responsible for educating students residing within their jurisdiction. A total of 1,377 operating agencies were supervisory unions (218) or regional education service agencies (1,159) that typically provided services to other LEAs. A total of 2,964 were independent charter agencies in which all the associated schools were charter schools. An additional 403 agencies were operated by state (263) or federal and other agencies (140) (derived from table 1).
  • In SY 2015–16, there were 50.33 million public elementary and secondary school students in membership (table 2), an increase of less than 0.1 percent from the 50.31 million students reported in SY 2014–15 (Glander 2016).
  • In SY 2015–16, public elementary and secondary schools and LEAs employed a total of 3.2 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers (table 2).
  • In addition to total teacher FTE, Table 2 provides state-level counts of operating schools and LEAs, total membership, and pupil/teacher ratios. In SY 2015–16, the pupil/teacher ratio (i.e., the number of students for every FTE teacher) in public schools was 16.0, down from 16.1 in SY 2014–15 (Glander 2016). Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the pupil/teacher ratio in SY 2015–16 ranged from a high of 23.6 in California to a low of 10.5 in Vermont.
  • In SY 2015–16, across the 42 states (including the District of Columbia) that reported charter schools, there were a total of 6,857 charter schools (table 3). This is an increase of 1.6 percent from the 6,752 reported in SY 2014–15 (Glander 2016).
  • Table 4 provides state-level counts of schools and the percentage distribution of students by schools’ locales. More schools (28,291) were in suburban locations than in any other locale in SY 2015–16. An additional 23,756 were in cities; 25,188 schools were in rural areas; and 11,582 were in towns. The largest percentage of students attended suburban schools (40 percent); schools in cities had the next largest percentage of students (30 percent), followed by schools in rural areas (19 percent) and towns (11 percent).