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Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States: 1997-98


The information provided in this publication was reported by state education agency officials to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the Common Core of Data (CCD). It relates to student membership in public schools and school districts in the United States and outlying areas during the 1997-98 school year, and to revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 1996.

  • The 100 largest public school districts, representing less than 1 percent of all school districts in the nation, were responsible for the education of 23 percent of all public school students (table A).

  • The 100 largest districts employed 20 percent of the nation's public school teachers, and accounted for 17 percent of all public schools and 19 percent of public high school graduates (table A).

  • The 100 largest school districts had larger school sizes than the average school district (714 compared to 514). In addition to larger school sizes, the 100 largest school districts also had a higher mean pupil/teacher ratio, 19.0 to 1 compared to 16.8 to 1 for the average school district (table A).

  • Three states, Florida, Texas, and California, accounted for over one-third of the 100 largest school districts (figure 1).

  • The proportion of minority students in the 100 largest school districts was almost double the proportion of minority students in all schools (66 compared to 38 percent) (table C).

  • Among schools that reported free lunch eligibility, 49 percent of the students in the 100 largest school districts were eligible for free lunch compared to 35 percent of all students in reporting states (table C).

  • In fiscal year 1996 (1995-96 school year), current expenditures per pupil in the 100 largest school districts ranged from a low of $2,763 in the Puerto Rico Department of Education to a high of $11,266 in Newark, New Jersey Public Schools (table 10).

  • While the numbers of students, teachers and schools has increased between 1987-88 and 1997-98, the proportion of the national total that the 100 largest school districts made up has not changed between these two years (table D).

Author: John Sietsema

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