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School Finance: Statistical Comparisons

FY12-FY16 Per-Pupil Expenditures, All Funds

The per pupil expenditure report has been updated to include expenditures from fiscal years 2012-2016 Download MS EXCEL DocumentDownload MS EXCEL file
size: 8.1 MB
(this file works best with Excel 2007 or later). This update continues the effort to present Massachusetts school spending data in a way that is comprehensive, comparable, and transparent to the general public.

These calculations show all school operating expenditures including those outside the general fund such as grants, private donations, and revolving accounts. They also include payments for local resident pupils who are being educated in schools outside the district. In addition to showing the overall cost per pupil, they provide detail about how much schools spend in specific functional areas such as administration, teaching, and maintenance.

The file opens to a single, detailed district report by funding source and functional areas. Use the dropdown menus on the detailed report to select a district and fiscal year. By clicking on the tabs at the bottom of the workbook, there are additional reports showing a 3-year trend by major functional areas, and a summary showing per pupil expenditures for all districts. There are also tabs with the complete 5-year dataset, both expenditures and pupils, to support additional analysis.

It is important to note that per pupil expenditures are not calculated for out-of-district expenditures, only total expenditures are shown, see additional explanation below.

Data source and timing

Per pupil expenditures are calculated from information provided on each district's End of Year Financial Report (EOYR). This is a comprehensive report of revenues and expenditures that occurred during each fiscal year.

Districts are required to hire auditing firms to verify the accuracy of the data on the EOYR. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) conducts a careful review of the data during the months following the report's submission. If any changes are necessary, districts must file amendments.

Spending from all funds

The following funding sources are all included in the functional expenditure per pupil measure:

  • school committee appropriations
  • municipal appropriations outside the school committee budget that affect schools
  • federal grants
  • state grants
  • circuit breaker funds
  • private grants and gifts
  • school choice and other tuition revolving funds
  • athletic funds
  • school lunch funds
  • other local receipts such as rentals and insurance receipts

Typically, school committee and municipal school appropriations, approved annually by town meetings and city councils, account for seven out of every eight dollars spent upon education.

Functional categories

The functional spending categories included in the per pupil calculations follow the order of the ESE chart of accounts:

CodeFunction
 In-District Expenditures
1110School Committee
1210Superintendent
1220Assistant Superintendents
1230Other District-Wide Administration
1410Business and Finance
1420Human Resources
1430Legal Service for School Committee
1435Legal Settlements
1450District-wide Information Systems
ADMNAdministration (sub-total)
2110Curriculum Directors (Supervisory)
2120Dept Heads (Non-Supervisory)
2210School Leadership
2220Curriculum Leaders (School Level)
2250Admin. Technology (School Level)
2315Instructional Coordinators
LDRSInstructional Leadership (sub-total)
2305Teachers, Classroom
2310Teachers, Specialists
TCHRTeachers (sub-total)
2320Medical/ Therapeutic Services
2325Substitute Teachers
2330Paraprofessionals
2340Librarians/Media Center Directors
TSEROther Teaching Services (sub-total)
2351Professional Development Leaders
2353Professional Days
2355Substitutes for Prof. Development
2357Professional Development Costs
PDEVProfessional Development (sub-total)
2410Textbooks, Software/Media/Matls
2415Instructional Materials (Libraries)
2420Instructional Equipment
2430General Classroom Supplies
2440Other Instructional Services
2451Classroom Technology
2453Technology (Libraries)
2455Instructional Software
MATLInstructional Materials/Equip/Tech (sub-total)
2710Guidance/Adjustment Counselors
2720Testing and Assessment
2800Psychological Services
GUIDGuidance, Counseling, Testing (sub-total)
3100Attendance and Parent Liaisons
3200Medical/Health Services
3300Transportation Services
3400Food Services
3510Athletics
3520Other Student Activities
3600School Security
SERVPupil Services (sub-total)
4110Custodial Services
4120Heating of Buildings
4130Utility Services
4210Maintenance of Grounds
4220Maintenance of Buildings
4225Building Security System
4230Maintenance of Equipment
4300Extraordinary Maintenance
4400Networking/Telecommunications
4450Technology Maintenance
OPMNOperations and Maintenance (sub-total)
5100Employer Retirement Contributions
5150Employee Separation Costs
5200Insurance for Active Employees
5250Insurance for Retired Employees
5260Other Non-Employee Insurance
5300Rental Lease of Equipment
5350Rental Lease of Buildings
5400Short Term Interest RANs
5500Other Fixed/Crossing Guards
5550School Crossing Guards
BENEBenefits and Fixed Charges (sub-total)
IIIITotal In-District Expenditures
 Out-of-District Expenditures (total expenditures only)
9100Tuition to Mass. Schools
9110Tuition for School Choice
9120Tuition to Commonwealth Charter Schools
9125Tuition to Horace Mann Charter Schools
9200Tuition to Out-of-State Schools
9300Tuition to Non-Public Schools
9400Tuition to Collaboratives
ODTRTransportation
OODDTotal Out-of-District Expenditures
TTPPTotal Expenditures

Spending categories that are not included in the per pupil expenditure calculations are: Community services (6000 series), fixed assets (7000 series), and debt service (8000 series).

In-District and Out-of-District Spending and Pupils

Most school spending goes toward educating local resident pupils in local schools. However, about five percent of the nearly one million public school children in Massachusetts are enrolled in publicly-funded settings outside the district. School districts pay tuition for pupils at special education schools, charter schools, and other placements. Transportation costs often add to the expense.

The first ten functional categories are for services provided within the school district. In those categories, per pupil calculations are limited to the pupils enrolled at the district. An in-district per pupil expenditure is calculated for these functions and measures what is spent on the pupils enrolled at the district.

The eleventh category includes expenditures made on out-of-district tuitions and transportation. Previous versions of this report included an out-of-district per pupil expenditure. However, this measure was difficult to interpret when comparing districts because it is typically a combination of high-cost special education placements and lower-cost school choice, charter school, and other out-of-district settings. If we were able to assign students to each tuition function to calculate per pupil expenditures at that level, it might be more useful, but that information is not available. Instead, the report only shows total expenditures for each 9000 series function.

The total per pupil expenditure includes all eleven categories of spending, and combines both groups of students, in-district and out-of-district.

Measuring enrollment: the concept of full-time equivalent average membership

The per pupil spending calculations published compare spending, which occurs throughout the school year, to the average number of pupils, which normally fluctuates over the school year. The enrollment statistic used is called full-time equivalent average membership or FTE.

Full-time equivalency refers to the percentage of time that students are enrolled during the school year. A pupil who arrives on November 1 and is still enrolled at the end of the year, for example, would be assigned full-time equivalency of somewhere in the range of eight-tenths.

District spending requirements

The Commonwealth does impose a strictly enforced total spending requirement called net school spending which is an integral component of the Chapter 70 state aid formula. Net school spending includes local appropriations, Chapter 70 aid, and special education circuit breaker monies, but not grants or revolving funds. Because of this, what qualifies as net school spending is slightly lower than a district's total expenditure. Reports showing each district's actual and budgeted net school spending, compared to what is required, are available on the ESE website, see detailed compliance reports and the Chapter 70 district profiles.

Otherwise, aside from one maintenance spending provision administered by the Massachusetts School Building Authority, there are no spending requirements for specific functional areas imposed by the Commonwealth.

Charter school per pupil expenditures

Charter schools report their spending in a different format than the districts contained in this report, see charter school revenue and expenditure data.

Contacts

Questions and comments can be addressed to:

Rob O'Donnell781-338-6512
Melissa King781-338-6532


Last Updated: August 28, 2017
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