EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, August 4, 2006

    Research and Reports

    The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) annually reports on state-by-state "Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education." Its report for School Year 2003-2004 is now available.

    "Total current expenditures" represent the amounts expended for the day-to-day operation of schools and school districts. The majority of these expenditures go towards salaries and benefits for school staff; however, they also include purchased services and supplies. Expenditures for school construction and other capital outlays, as well as debt services, and programs outside of public elementary and secondary education, are not included. Expenditures for the state education agency are also excluded from these data.

    "Total current expenditures" were almost $17.7 billion in Pennsylvania during the 2003-04 school year, according to the new state-by-state report from NCES. Of that total, 65.5% ($11.574 billion) was used for instruction and instruction-related costs, student support services accounted for 4.8% ($851.226 million), administration costs for 10.8% ($1.913 billion), and operating expenses for 18.9% ($3.341 billion). Based on NCES data, Pennsylvania is in line with the nation in terms of how its basic education expenditures are apportioned.

    Nationally, for "current expenditures", the U.S. spent $403 billion on elementary and secondary education in 2003-04 (a 4.1 percent increase over the previous year in unadjusted dollars, or a 1.8 percent increase using the Consumer Price Index inflation factor to determine the increase in constant 03-04 dollars). 66.1 percent of expenditures were used toward instruction and instruction-related activities, 5.2% toward student support services, 11.0% toward administration, and 17.8% toward operations.

    NCES also reports that Pennsylvania spent $9,708 per student during 2003-04, with $6,355 per student expended for instruction and instruction-related costs, $467 for student support services, $1,051 for administration and $1,835 for operations. Median per student spending in the Commonwealth was $8,439. Across the state's 501 school districts, resources available per student ranged from $7,046 to $11,501 (excluding the top and bottom five percent of districts). The following chart shows how Pennsylvania compares to its neighboring states and the nation in terms of per student spending and the range of resources available across school districts.

    2003-2004 School Year Expenditures Per Student Median Expenditures Per Student Expenditure of districts at 5th percentile Expenditure of districts at 95th percentile
    Pennsylvania $9,708 $8,439 $7,046 $11,501
    Delaware $10,212 $9,952 $7,745 $11,277
    Maryland $9,433 $8,809 $8,214 $10,811
    New Jersey $13,338 $11,881 $9,707 $16,503
    New York $12,638 $12,421 $9,837 $19,286
    Ohio $9,029 $7,463 $6,558 $10,115>
    West Virginia $8,588 $8,496 $7,535 $9,479
    United States $8,310 $7,860 $5,855 $14,067

    For more information, access the report "Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2003-04" at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006352.pdf.


    Next Week...The Governor's Institutes for educators continue next week. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

    Save the Dates...The 2006 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium sponsored by EPLC will be held in Harrisburg on November 16-17. Look for more details on the EPLC Web Site after September 1.

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