Based on our analysis of fiscal year 2004 data, Arizona school districts spent 58.6 percent of their dollars in the classroom, the same as in fiscal year 2003. However, the most recent national average was 61.5 percent, and the ten states closest to Arizona in per-pupil spending averaged 61.3 percent. State-wide, Arizona districts spent higher percentages on plant and student support costs and a lower percentage on administration when compared to the national and peer state averages.
Larger student populations continued to be the primary factor associated with individual districts’ higher classroom dollar percentages. Higher plant, administrative, and transportation costs were associated with lower classroom percentages. Within Arizona, higher per-pupil total spending does not equate to higher classroom dollar percentages. In fact, districts that spent the most per pupil have lower classroom dollar percentages, on average.
Districts spent Proposition 301 monies almost solely on instructional staff salaries and benefits, complying with the requirement to spend at least 60 percent of the monies for that purpose. On average, districts reported that Proposition 301 monies accounted for 10 percent of teacher pay.
The report also contains alphabetically organized one-page information sheets on individual districts, summarizing each district’s classroom spending and administrative costs, its reported Proposition 301 program results, and other comparative information.