In fiscal year 2006, Arizona’s classroom dollar percentage was 58.3 percent, which was slightly lower than the previous 3 years and about 3 points behind the national average of 61.5 percent. Arizona’s lower classroom dollar percentage may be related to several factors combined, including low per-pupil spending, below average district size, high population growth, high student-to-teacher ratios, high poverty rates, and a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. However, Arizona’s classroom dollar percentage could have been higher. If districts had continued spending their resources as they did in fiscal year 2001, the additional Proposition 301 and Indian Gaming monies could have raised the State’s classroom dollar percentage to 59.7 percent.
State-wide, Arizona school districts continue to spend a higher percentage of their dollars on plant costs, student support services, and food service than the national averages, and a lower percentage on administrative costs. For individual districts, the primary factor associated with higher classroom dollar percentages continues to be larger student populations. Conversely, higher plant, administrative, student support, and transportation costs were the most significant factors associated with lower classroom dollar percentages.
Within Arizona, higher per-pupil spending does not equate to higher classroom dollar percentages. In fact, districts that spend the most per pupil have lower classroom dollar percentages, on average.
Proposition 301 monies continue to be spent primarily for increasing teacher pay. On average, these monies represented 12 percent of teacher salaries and ranged from $407 to $8,426. A small amount of menu monies, about $209,000, was spent for purposes not allowed by statute.