US Schools Spending Avenues
The research below provide a deep insight into the fixed-cost as well as other expenditure details of US-based public and charter schools. Along with state-wise and state-specific comparison of public schools in Michigan and New York, the research also includes the latest expenditure details of Tulsa Public Schools as an example.
After an extensive research through various reports released by the US-based public schools and government departments, no clear distinction between public schools, charter schools, and private schools could be established. Additionally, the data present in the latest government reports was also more than 2 years old, suggesting that no recent survey has been carried out by the US government in this regard. However, the current data related to public schools from New York and Michigan was successfully found and presented in the research. A deep dive on the research is presented below.
Expenditures by public schools and charters in Michigan — a comparison
In 2015-16,(the latest available data) $20.9 billion was spent on Michigan public schools by the state and out of which $13.9 billion was funneled through districts' operating budget, which was 67% of the total budgetary expenses. Out of $13.9 billion, 63% was spent on the instruction facilities which includes the money that is directly spent on the students, teachers, teacher aides, and textbooks. On the other hand, 37% of the funds was spent on other expenses which include 10% on instructional support like, speech therapists, guidance counselors, school nurses, and curriculum specialists, etc.; 13% on administration and business expenses like, "cost of general administration, school administration, business services, central services, and other support services," also including non-capital facilities acquisition costs; 10% on cost incurred in maintaining school facilities, which doesn't include capital outlays; 4% on the expenses incurred in student transportation; and other expenditure from the general operating funds including, "community services, debt service, capital outlay, and other transactions."
Charter schools spend their funds differently in comparison to public schools. They spend less money on instruction and transportation and spend more on administration and business activities which include fees of charter authorities and charter management companies. To compare statistically — in 2015-16, the Michigan-based charter schools spent an average of $9,251 per student in comparison to $10,351 per student for public schools, in which 81% of operating budget is spent on salaries and benefits to teachers and other staff members.
Expenditures by public schools in the United States
As per the latest data (April 2017) released by the National Center for Education Statistics on the condition of education in terms of public school expenditures, in 2013-14, the total expenditures by the public school in availing purchased services and supplies was only 19%, including 11% in purchased services and 8% in supplies. On the other hand, 80% of the total funds were spent on salaries (58%) and benefits (22%) to the staff members. "Purchased services include expenditures for contracts for food, transportation, and janitorial services, and professional development for teachers. Supplies include expenditures for items ranging from books to heating oil."
In 2013-14, the expenditure of public school per student, and by function of expenditure includes, $6,821 that was spent on instruction; $624 that was spent on student support; $514 that was spent on instructional staff services; $1,076 that was spent on operation and maintenance services; $842 that was spent of administration; $483 that was spent on transportation; and $453 on food services, making a total of $10,813.
According to Public Education Finances 2015 report (the latest available report) by the U.S. Consensus Bureau, the total budget allocated to public schools in the fiscal year 2015 was $639.5 billion, out of which $567.7 billion was spent as current spending; $52.1 billion was spent as capital outlays; and $19.6 billion was spent on other requirements that are listed specifically in the appendix of the report. The state-wise expenditure is mentioned specifically in the graph, which shows California as the largest receiver of the funds (in terms of the federal, state, and local revenue) and also the largest state in terms of total expenditure.
The public schools also received state aid in the form of grants for capital outlays, special education programs, staff improvement programs, transportation programs, vocational programs, among many others that are listed specifically in the appendix of the report.
In terms of spending, there exist country-specific variations. For e.g. New York spends $20,000 per student which is the largest per-student expenditure among all other US states, and "Idaho and Utah spend only about one-third as much." This variation in the public schools' expenditure is based on the revenue, teacher salaries and employee benefits, cost of living, the state's demography, administrative costs, and many other factors.
Examples of the latest budgetary expenditure — Tulsa public schools
According to Tulsa Public Schools' FY 2018 Preliminary Budget report which was released on June 19, 2017, the budget allocated to salaries was 62%, and to the employee benefits was 19% that covered the largest portion of the budget (81%). The rest of the budget is divided among purchased professional and tech services (5%), supplies & materials (5%), and other purchased services/other uses.
To wrap it up, in 2015-16, the Michigan-based charter schools spent an average of $9,251 per student in comparison to $10,351 per student for public schools and also Tulsa Public Schools have planned to spend 81% of their budget in salaries and benefits of its employees this year. The National Center for Education Statistics also present a similar picture in their latest (2017) report, suggesting that — In 2013-14, the total expenditure by the public schools in availing purchased services and supplies was only 19% of the allocated budget, while majority (81%) of the budget was spent in providing salaries and benefits to the employees.