Chapter 3.2


3.2 - What Costs Drive School District Spending?

Now that we've covered the fundamentals of school district operating expenditures, it is important to review change in spending over time. Since 2010-11, three major areas of expenditures represent the largest portion of annual cost growth for school district spending: pensions, charter school tuition, and special education. Below, we illustrate each of these cost areas individually. Keep an eye out next week as we begin reviewing mandated costs and their impact on school district local revenues.

Click on the infogram below to see the change in the total school district employee pension costs from 2010-11 to 2018-19. Pension expenditures' increase in the share of school district’s total expenditures has increased as the employer contribution rate established by the state has increased dramatically.

Click on the infogram below to see the change in charter school tuition costs from 2010-11 to 2018-19. These costs have increased 72%, or 12% annually, a result of both substantial increases in charter school tuition rates and increases in the number of students attending charter schools.


Click on the infogram below to see the change in the special education expenditures from 2010-11 to 2018-19. Special education expenditures include both special education instructional costs as well as special education support services costs. These costs have increased about 33%, or 12% annually.