School District Cost and Size
Report Type Final Report 
Date Published June 2010 
Publication Number 10-6 
2009-11 Operating Budget
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The 2009-11 Operating Budget directed JLARC to conduct a study of the relationship between the cost of school districts and their enrollment size.  JLARC analysis finds that the highest expenditures per pupil occur in 85 districts with fewer than 1,000 students, however not all small school districts have high expenditures.  This pattern is true for total district expenditures and for major activities such as teaching, administration, facility operation and transportation.  The analysis also shows that districts with the highest per pupil expenditures only represent 2.5 percent of school district expenditures statewide.  High expenditures per pupil are largely the result of the statutory formula for distributing state educational funding:  districts receiving the highest funding per pupil also spend the highest amounts per pupil.  In addition, the report notes school districts placed under state financial oversight have used a variety of methods to balance their budgets. Finally, though there has been extensive research on school and school district size, the research does not identify an optimal size.

Mark Fleming, Analyst
Keenan Konopaski, Project Supervisor


Print Availability Request hard copy from the JLARC Publications Officer
Number of Pages 70 
Keywords school districts, enrollment, pupil expenditures 
Category Education