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Comparison of Per Pupil Spending Calculations

Comparison of different methods for calculating per-pupil spending.

The table below compares four different methods of calculating statewide per-pupil spending. Below the table are descriptions of available school district-specific measures.

Issue National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
National Education Association (NEA)
Department of Finance K-12 Proposition 98
Department of Finance K-12 Total
Data source
Actual data compiled by CDE staff from financial reports by local educational agencies (LEAs) and state budget data.
Estimates are computed by NCES and are limited in scope.
NCES data adjusted by CDE staff to comply with NEA data requirements. Estimates based on state budget data. Estimates are based on state budget data and are detailed in scope.
State budget data based on appropriations plus data on local revenues from financial reports by LEAs. Compiled by the Department of Finance. Appropriations are counted in the year the appropriation is applied towards Proposition 98.
State budget data based on appropriations plus data on local revenues from financial reports by LEAs. Compiled by the Department of Finance.
Timeliness
Actual data published about two to three years after the close of a fiscal year.
Limited estimates (not always by state) published about a year or so after the close of the fiscal year.
Actual data published about a year and a half after the close of a fiscal year. Current-year estimates published during the fiscal year.
Actual data published about six months after the close of the fiscal year. Estimates published for the current and budget years.
Actual data published about six months after the close of the fiscal year. Estimates published for the current and budget years.
Historical data availability Some definitions have changed. Data go back to 1962-63. Definitions have stayed consistent. Data go back to 1949-50. Data go back to 1988-89. Data go back to 1988-89.
Revenues vs. expenditures
Publish data on both.

Publish data on both. Mix of appropriations and revenues.

Mix of appropriations and revenues.
"Current" expenditures for regular K-12 programs vs. total expenditures
Publish data on both. Data on current expenditures cited most frequently. Has a separate "current expenditures for other programs" category that includes operating expenditures for programs not included in "regular K-12 education."
Publish data on both. Data on current expenditures cited most frequently. Has a separate "current expenditures for other programs" category that includes operating expenditures for programs not included in "regular K-12 education."
Total.
Total.
Fund sources Federal, state and local.
Federal, state and local.
State General Fund appropriations and local property tax revenues.
Federal, state and local.
Capital outlay
Excluded from current expenditures. Capital outlay includes construction, acquisition and lease of land and buildings, plus original and replacement equipment.
Excluded from current expenditures. Capital outlay includes construction, acquisition and lease of land and buildings, plus original and replacement equipment.
Capital outlay funding included if it comes from Proposition 98 funding sources. For example, deferred maintenance (some of which is capital outlay) and computer purchases are funded using Proposition 98 funds.
Appropriations from state bond funds excluded; all others included.
Debt service
Principal excluded. Interest excluded from current expenditures.
Principal excluded. Interest excluded from current expenditures.
Debt service on bonds excluded.
Included.
Child development
NCES allows inclusion of pre-K programs (e.g., preschool and child development) if they are instructional and funding goes to an LEA. California data include preschool and child development expenditures and an average daily attendance (ADA) equivalent. Because we do not report an enrollment count for these pupils, NCES imputes enrollment from the data we submit.
NEA allows inclusion of preschool (only) if it is an integral part of the academic program and funding goes to an LEA (related pupil counts, i.e. ADA and enrollment, must be included at the same time). California data exclude all preschool and child development expenditures.
Included.
Included.
Adult education
Excluded from current expenditures.
Excluded from current expenditures.
Included.
Included.
Summer school and extended year
Included.
NEA directs states to exclude this. California includes this funding on the principle that we are moving towards a "seamless" instructional calendar. Included.
Included.
Before and After School Programs
California requires the inclusion of an instructional component in the state's Before and After School Program. Therefore, we consider these programs to be part of the regular K-12 instructional program and include the costs in the current expenditures.
NEA considers these programs to be "community service" activities and not part of regular K-12 education. However, since California requires the inclusion of an instructional component in the state Before and After School Program, we consider these programs to be part of the regular K-12 instructional program and include the costs in current expenditures.
Included. Included.
State retirement contributions
Included.
Included.
Excluded.
Included.
State-supplied textbooks
Included.
Included.
Included.
Included.
Schools at state institutions
Included.
Excluded.
Excluded from K-12 calculations. (Included in total expenditures under Proposition 98.)
Included if operated by the CDE.
State department of education administration
Excluded.
Included, except for expenditures related to the state special schools and administration of adult education and child development programs.
Excluded.
Included.
Other expenditures of state agencies Administrative costs excluded. "Direct program support for public school students" can be included.
Administrative costs excluded. "Direct program support for public school students" can be included. Since 2001, California has included the value of the federal E-Rate subsidy for non-capital expenses and expenditures by higher education segments for staff development provided to K-12 teachers.
Excluded unless funds are allocated to LEAs.
Included if categorized under K-12 education in the state budget (includes State Library, Commission on Teacher Credentialing, etc.).
Enrollment Data collected on fall enrollment for LEAs, State Special Schools, and Division of Juvenile Justice. NCES imputes child development enrollment from our ADA-equivalent data.
Data collected on fall enrollment. Excludes enrollment at state institutions.
Not used.
Not used.
ADA (average daily attendance) Uses annual K-12 ADA (ADA reported after the close of the fiscal year).
less adults
plus state institutions (from lottery report)
plus summer school ADA-equivalent
plus child development ADA-equivalent.
Uses annual K-12 ADA (ADA reported after the close of the fiscal year).
less adults
less extended year
Uses P-2 ADA (ADA reported in the spring of the fiscal year) for school districts and Annual ADA (ADA reported after the close of the fiscal year) for county offices.
less adults
less Regional Occupational Centers/Programs ADA.
Uses P-2 ADA (ADA reported in the spring of the fiscal year) for school districts and Annual ADA (ADA reported after the close of the fiscal year) for county offices.
less adults
less Regional Occupational Centers/Programs ADA.
Excused absences Beginning in 1991-92, ADA figures were adjusted to exclude excused absences.
Beginning in 1998-99, ADA figures exclude excused absences.
Beginning in 1996-97, ADA figures were adjusted to exclude excused absences.
Beginning in 1996-97, ADA figures were adjusted to exclude excused absences.
Beginning with 2002-03 Governor's Budget, uses same ADA as Proposition 98. Prior to that, used ""unduplicated"" ADA, which included additional ADA for adults and Regional Occupational Center/Program pupils who were not also concurrently enrolled in regular K-12 programs.

School District-specific Measures

The expenditure data described in the chart provide information on statewide expenditures per pupil. The measures below provide information applying to individual school districts.

State statutory definition of current expense per pupil. This figure has been published in the CDE Fact Book for decades. It is similar to the NCES and NEA definition but includes spending equipment replacement. The data reflect spending from district general funds only. It does not include spending by state agencies and county offices of education or from district special funds. Special funds finance programs such as adult education, child development, and cafeteria operations. The ADA is annual K-12 ADA and excludes adults and students attending non-district operated programs. It includes summer school ADA-equivalents.

Revenue limit. This is the amount of general purpose funding per ADA to which a district is entitled by law. It is funded from the state General Fund and local property taxes. There are three versions: the full entitlement (undeficited), the funded amount (deficited), and the amount used in equalization calculations.

District financial statements shown on the Ed-Data Web site. These figures are from district financial reports for their general funds.

Expenditures per pupil, NEA-adjusted, shown on the Ed-Data Web site. These figures are intended to be comparable to the statewide NEA number; that is, the definitions are the same. The figures are developed by adding district special fund, county office of education, and state agency expenditures to district general fund expenditures.

Questions:   Carol Bingham | cbingham@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4728
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