Non-academic Spending - US Public High Schools

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Non-academic Spending - US Public High Schools

While your requested information is not readily available in the public domain, there were figures that enabled us to triangulate the answers. Based on our calculations, there is a good chance that yearly spending on student support services in U.S. public high schools is around $9,766,904,000 and the breakdown of this amount, by programming type, is as follows: health-related programs (26.07%), social work-related programs (11.20%), psychology-related programs (23.40%), speech therapy or pathology programs (21.98%), and other programs (17.35%). Since this percentage distribution was computed using figures that consider all 30,828 public high schools in the U.S., it is expected that the percentage distribution applies to all U.S. public high schools as well. As requested, these findings are presented in the attached spreadsheet.

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICE EXPENDITURE in public secondary schools

As you indicated in your comments on the original response to this request, you are interested in the amount spent on student support services in U.S. public high schools and the corresponding breakdown of this amount by programming type. According to the most current Digest of Education Statistics of the United States' National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the total amount spent on student support in public elementary and secondary schools in 2014-2015 was $32,363,375,000. This amount was broken down into the following items. Salaries accounted for nearly 64% of the total student support expenditure in U.S. public schools.

Salaries — $20,658,101,000
Employee benefits — $7,872,711,000
Purchased services — $3,024,871,000
Supplies — $599,269,000
Other — $208,422,000

The NCES defines student support services as services that include "attendance and social work, guidance, health, psychological services, speech pathology, audiology, and other student support
services."

Although the public secondary schools' share of this total student support expenditure is not readily available, we triangulated it by multiplying the average amount spent per pupil by the total enrollment in public secondary schools.

Per pupil, the amount spent on student support services was $644. Given that enrollment in public secondary schools this year is expected to be 15,166,000, we were able to estimate that the student support expenditure in public secondary schools this year will be around $9,766,904,000. Row 10 of Sheet1 of the attached spreadsheet shows how this amount was computed.

In 2015-2016, there were 30,828 public secondary or combined elementary/secondary schools in the United States. Of this number, 23,561 were regular schools, 1,236 were special education schools, 1,391 were vocational schools, and 4,640 were alternative schools.

BREAKDOWN OF STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICE EXPENDITURE BY PROGRAMMING TYPE

The breakdown of student support expenditure in public secondary schools could not be found in the public domain as well, but there was information from the NCES that allowed us to estimate the breakdown.

In 2015-2016, there were 46,200 school counselors and 66,000 student support services professional staff that were employed as either full-time or part-time employees in public secondary/high schools. Of the 66,000 student support services professional staff, 15,760 were nurses, 9,880 were social workers, 12,870 were psychologists, and 12,180 were speech therapists or speech pathologists. Student support services professional staff do not include school counselors.

Since, as mentioned above, salaries account for most of the student support expenditure, we assumed that the distribution of the salaries by type of student support services professional staff will be indicative of the breakdown, by programming type, of the student support expenditure. Please note, however, that this is a very crude assumption given that we do not know how the number of staff breaks down into full-time and part-time employees. Following this assumption, we looked for the latest median annual pay of nurses, social workers, psychologists, and speech therapists in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Row 5 of Sheet2 of the attached spreadsheet shows the amounts we got from the handbook. Row 6, on the other hand, shows the total annual pay, which is the product of the number of staff and the median annual pay.

Since we could not ascertain the median annual pay of those belonging to the 'Others' category, we assumed that their median annual pay is the same as that of the social workers, which is the lowest in the group. As shown in Row 7 of Sheet2 of the spreadsheet, our calculations resulted in the following distribution of student support staff salaries across 30,828 public high schools:

Nurses — 26.07%
Social workers — 11.20%
Psychologists —23.40%
Speech therapists or pathologists — 21.98%
Others — 17.35%

Given these figures, we were able to estimate that the breakdown, by programming type, of the student support service expenditure in public high schools is as follows:

Student support service expenditure — $9,766,904,000
Health-related programs — 26.07%
Social work-related programs — 11.20%
Psychology-related programs — 23.40%
Speech therapy or pathology programs — 21.98%
Other programs — 17.35%

You may see these figures in Sheet3 of the spreadsheet. Unfortunately, there is no information in the public domain that would allow us to feasibly determine the number of public high schools that offer specific types of student support programs.

CONCLUSION

Despite the lack of pre-compiled statistics on the student support service expenditure in U.S. public high schools and its corresponding breakdown by programming type, information in the public domain allowed us to arrive at the following figures: (a) there are 30,828 public secondary schools in the United States, (b) together, these schools spend around $9,766,904,000 on student support services in a year, and (c) this amount is likely allocated to different programs in the following manner: health-related programs (26.07%), social work-related programs (11.20%), psychology-related programs (23.40%), speech therapy or pathology programs (21.98%), and other programs (17.35%).
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