FY2016–FY2020 Per-Pupil Expenditures, All Funds
The per pupil expenditure report includes expenditure data from fiscal years 2016–2020 . Charter schools report their spending in a different format than the districts contained in this report, see charter school revenue and expenditure data.
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 (DESE) 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 on education.
The functional spending categories included in the per pupil calculations follow the order of the DESE chart of accounts:
|1230||Other District-Wide Administration|
|1410||Business and Finance|
|1430||Legal Service for School Committee|
|1450||Districtwide Administrative Technology +|
|2110||Curriculum Directors and Department Heads (Supervisory)|
|2120||Curriculum Directors and Department Heads (Non-Supervisory)|
|2130||Instructional Technology Leadership +|
|2220||Curriculum Leaders and Department Heads (School Level)*|
|2250||Administrative Technology (School Level)|
|LDRS||Instructional Leadership (sub-total)|
|2320||Medical/ Therapeutic Services|
|2340||Librarians/Media Center Directors|
|2345||Distance Learning/Online Coursework +|
|TSER||Other Teaching Services (sub-total)|
|2351||Professional Development Leaders|
|2354||Stipends for Teachers Providing Instructional Coaching|
|2355||Substitutes for Professional Development*|
|2356||Costs for Instructional Staff to Attend Professional Development|
|2357||Professional Development Costs*|
|2358||Outside Professional Development Providers for Instructional Staff|
|PDEV||Professional Development (sub-total)|
|2410||Textbooks, Software, Media, and Materials +|
|2415||Instructional Materials (Libraries)|
|2430||General Classroom Supplies|
|2440||Other Instructional Services|
|2451||Instructional Hardware (Student and Staff Devices) +|
|2453||Instructional Hardware (All Other) +|
|2455||Instructional Software and Other Instructional Materials + |
|MATL||Instructional Materials, Equipment, and Technology (sub-total)|
|2720||Testing and Assessment|
|GUID||Guidance, Counseling, and Testing (sub-total)|
|3100||Attendance and Parent Liaisons|
|3520||Other Student Activities|
|SERV||Pupil Services (sub-total)|
|4120||Heating of Buildings|
|4210||Maintenance of Grounds|
|4220||Maintenance of Buildings|
|4225||Building Security System|
|4230||Maintenance of Equipment|
|4400||Technology Maintenance/Support (Salaries) +|
|4450||Technology Maintenance/Support (All Other) +|
|OPMN||Operations and Maintenance (sub-total)|
|5100||Employer Retirement Contributions|
|5150||Employee Separation Costs|
|5200||Insurance for Active Employees|
|5250||Insurance for Retired Employees|
|5260||Other Non-Employee Insurance|
|5300||Rental Lease of Equipment|
|5350||Rental Lease of Buildings|
|5400||Short Term Interest RANs|
|5500||Other Fixed Charges|
|5550||School Crossing Guards|
|BENE||Benefits and Fixed Charges (sub-total)|
|IIII||Total In-District Expenditures|
|9100||Tuition to Massachusetts Public Schools|
|9110||Tuition for School Choice|
|9120||Tuition to Commonwealth Charter Schools|
|9125||Tuition to Horace Mann Charter Schools|
|9200||Tuition to Out-of-State Schools|
|9300||Tuition to Non-Public Schools|
|9400||Tuition to Collaboratives|
|OODD||Total Out-of-District Expenditures|
|Total Expenditures Per Pupil|
* Code discontinued starting in fiscal year 2018
+ New or updated code starting in fiscal year 2019
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, but not circuit breaker, 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 DESE web site, 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.
Questions and comments can be addressed to:
Last Updated: April 2, 2021