Category Archives: Schools K-12

Nutcracker Effect’: The Fiscal Outlook For States

Source: Robert B. Ward, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, April 26, 2008

Presentation to the National Education Writers Association’s 61st National Seminar, outlining the effects of falling property values, demographic trends, and inflation on school finance. State revenue data are provided by region and for selected states. Concludes that schools have three choices: raise taxes, cut services, and/or find ways to use resources more cost-effectively.

Detailed State Data Comparison

Source: Education Week, 2009

Detailed State Data provides comprehensive data for individual states and ways to compare multiple states’ data in all categories.

To see and compare data from several states at once, check the box to the left of each state you wish to compare and click “Compare States” below.

See also:
– Individual State Reports
– School Finance Table


Source: Nicholas Johnson, Elizabeth Hudgins, and Jeremy Koulish, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 23, 2008

Twenty-seven states have cut education because they face massive, devastating budget deficits in this recession.

The combination of rising unemployment, declining consumer spending, declining asset values, and foreclosures has led to declining state revenues. And the number of people in poverty is growing, adding costs to state budgets for programs such as Medicaid and social services.

School Bus Safety Overview

Source: School Transportation News, November 11, 2008

Among the statistics listed on the page:

  • Nearly 500,000 yellow school buses provide transportation service daily nationwide.
  • Approximately 26 million elementary and secondary school children ride school buses daily throughout the United States, twice a day.
  • School buses travel approximately 4.4 billion miles each school year across the United States. To put this in perspective, the U.S. Department of Transportation publishes figures that show Americans drive nearly 3 trillion miles on U.S. highways each year.
  • According to the National Safety Council, the national school bus accident rate is 0.01 per 100 million miles traveled, compared to 0.04 for trains, 0.06 for commercial aviation and 0.96 for other passenger vehicles.

ASBC Releases School Bus Stats, Fuel Calculator

Source: School Bus Fleet, October 2, 2008

As a result of the 480,000 school buses currently in operation in the U.S., more than 2.3 billion gallons of fuel are spared each year, resulting in a net savings of more than $8 billion in fuel costs, according to new statistics released by the American School Bus Council (ASBC).
Among the other statistics released by the ASBC:
• 17.3 million: Total number of private vehicles that would be needed to transport students currently riding on all school buses.
• 822 million gallons per year: Total fuel used by school buses.
• $3.4 billion per year: Total cost of fuel used by school buses.
• $131 per year: Cost of fuel per child transported by school bus.
• 3.1 billion gallons per year: Total fuel for cars replaced by buses
• $11.4 billion per year: Cost of fuel for cars replaced by school buses
• 62.4 billion: Total annual car mileage saved by students riding school buses.
• 346.6 million: Total daily car mileage saved by students riding school buses.
• 36: Average number of cars needed to transport students currently riding one school bus.
See also:
National School Bus Fuel Data
Fuel Calculator
Statement of the American School Bus Council Regarding Impact of High Fuel Prices on School Districts Across the Country

Heats On: Report Analyzes Gap in School Lunch Funding

Source: School Nutrition Association, September 2008

From the press release:
The average cost to prepare a school lunch has increased 10% since the 2007-2008 school year, according to a report published today by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). Results from “Heats On: School Meals Under Financial Pressure” show the average cost rose from $2.63 to $2.90 for schools to prepare a nutritionally balanced school lunch that meets federal nutrition standards. Over the same timeframe, schools received only a 4.3% increase in the federal reimbursement for each free lunch provided to low income students. This funding gap could cost America’s school nutrition programs a potential loss of at least $4.5 million per school day, based on 30 million school lunches provided daily.

To prevent a compromise of nutritional integrity, school districts have responded by raising lunch prices to an average of $2.08 up from $1.96 in the 2007-2008 school year. According to the report, 73% of school districts are increasing prices for students. Even with the increases, the cost of a school lunch remains lower than the average cost to prepare a lunch at home (according to meal cost comparisons by Dr. Alice Jo Rainville of Eastern Michigan University).

School nutrition programs strive to offer affordable, healthy meals to students who buy a school lunch each day and are also working to control labor, food and supply costs to keep student meal prices reasonable. But double-digit increases in food costs combined with increases in labor rates, benefit costs, transportation and fuel charges and high prices of nutritious items such as whole grains create a situation where the cost to prepare a meal exceeds both the amount charged for the meal and the federal reimbursement issued for free and reduced meals. SNA’s report indicated that 88% of school nutrition programs found the National School Lunch Program reimbursement insufficient in covering the cost of producing a meal during the 2007-2008 school year. Given the rising costs for the upcoming school year, this figure is expected to increase in the coming months.
See also:
Impact of Rising Food Costs
Paring Food Costs: Comparing Apples to Apples

Projections of Education Statistics to 2017

Source: William J Hussar and Tabitha M. Bailey, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2008078, September 17, 2008

From the summary:
This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2017. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2017. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.

One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students

Source: Rick Fry and Felisa Gonzales, Pew Hispanic Center, August 26, 2008

From the summary:
The number of Hispanic students in the nation’s public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. There are now approximately 10 million Hispanic students in the nation’s public kindergartens and its elementary and high schools; they make up about one-in-five public school students in the United States. In 1990, just one-in-eight public school students were Hispanic.

Nurturing The Nest Egg: School districts get new federal duties in overseeing workers’ 403(b) supplemental retirement accounts

Source: Michele McNeil, Education Week, September 29, 2008

Seemingly arcane new federal rules about supplemental retirement plans have sparked a seismic shift in responsibility for school districts, thrusting them into the retirement business with new oversight–and burdens–involving their employees’ 403(b) accounts.

Once merely paper-pushers between their employees and investment choices, district business officials must now vet and pick the investment firms that offer such plans, craft a highly technical document governing the 403(b) accounts, and assume responsibility for making sure employees seeking hardship withdrawals or loans from their accounts are following the rules.