Chapter 3.3


3.3 - How have Mandated Costs Impacted School District Expenditures?

Total operating expenditures represent all costs associated with the operation of the school district. Operating expenditures can be broken down between the following: (1) mandated expenditures (or "mandated costs") representing those expenditures that are required by state and federal laws; and (2) net operating expenditures, representing the discretionary costs that the school district has some capacity to direct and control. The three largest areas of annual cost growth (pension, charter school tuition, and special education), as reviewed in Friday's edition, represent significant mandated costs on school district operating expenditures.

These cost areas are represented by object and function codes discussed yesterday, such as object 230 - pension expenditures, object 560 - tuition to charter schools, and function 1200 - special education instruction. Because expenditures have a function and object code associated with them, to calculate total mandated costs for pension, charter school tuition and special education instruction, we adjusted special education costs by excluding the special education pension and special education charter tuition costs already included in total pension and charter school tuition costs.

Since , total mandated costs for pension, charter school tuition, and special education have increased $3.963 billion. As a result, mandated costs have resulted in a 17.88% increase in total operating expenditures, or an average annual increase of 2.98%.

Click on the interactive infogram below to see the total change in mandated costs from to 2018-19.

Click on the image link below to view our map of six-year change in pension, charter school tuition, and adjusted special education costs for each school district. Additionally, you can see the average annual percentage increase in total school district operating expenditures as a result of mandated cost increases in these three areas alone.

Click on the image link below to view our map illustrating the average annual % change in relation to total operating expenditures for the following: change in total operating expenditures, change in mandated costs, and change in net operating expenditures.