Based on our analysis, Arizona school districts’ administrative expenditures on a state-wide basis were in line with the national average at 10.8 percent in fiscal year 2001. This equates to approximately $560 per pupil on average; however, costs in individual districts range from approximately $370 per pupil to $6,013. Factors associated with higher per-pupil administrative costs include smaller student populations, and above-average salaries, staffing levels, benefits, and purchased services costs on a per-pupil basis. The opposite was generally true for districts with low per-pupil administrative costs. Changes in these same factors, as well as accounting changes or errors, caused districts to move into or out of the high- or low-cost categories.
In addition, based on analysis of available state-wide data, the report discusses some additional factors that are associated with higher administrative costs. These include smaller school sizes, rural or isolated locations, significant amounts of federal impact aid, lower spending on classroom instruction, and large fund balances. This report also presents a ranked listing of each district’s total and per-pupil administrative costs.