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AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what’s spent on them (+ Infographic)


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  • Claire Roney/Arizona Education News Service

Children At The AZ SciTech Festival Festival In 2013. Photo Courtesy AZ SciTech

Latino students now make up close to half of Arizona’s public elementary school students, and the majority of Arizona’s over a million K-12 students continue to attend district schools, according to the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction’s recently released Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

The report provides general statistical information about the type and number of public schools in the state, how they are funded and the students who attend them.

AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) StudentsAtAZSciTechFest2013HP

Children at the AZ SciTech Festival in 2013. Photo courtesy AZ SciTech

It also provides financial and statistical information for every school district and charter school in Arizona and showcases a variety of differences between district and charter schools.

Of the 1,082,675 Arizona K-12 students who attended public school in 2014-15, 921,540, or 85.1 percent, went to public district schools, while 161,136, or 14.9 percent, went to charter schools.

In the past eight years, the number of students enrolled in Arizona public schools has grown by 3.98 percent. This enrollment includes the full-time and part-time students attending classes during the first 100 days of school, which is called average daily membership. In Arizona, district and charter schools are funded according to their average daily membership.


AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) Updatedwhereazstudentsgotoschool2014-151

Infographic by Claire Roney/AZEdNews
Click here for a JPEG of this infographic.

Student overwhelmingly received their instruction on Arizona’s public district and charter school campuses, but about 12,508 Arizona students, or 1.15 percent, took all their classes online through a district or charter sponsored online program, down slightly from last year’s 1.36 percent. Ninety-four percent of those digital learners take classes through online charter schools, one percent less than last year.

Education funding sources

In Fiscal Year 2014-2015, about 42 percent of the state’s general fund was spent on the Department of Education. All education, including community colleges and the Board of Regents, totaled 53.21 percent of the general fund.


AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) UpdatedStatefundingforeducationInfographic

Infographic by Claire Roney/AZEdNews
Click here for a JPEG of this infographic.

Revenues for Arizona district and charter schools’ totaled $9,897,557,487 for fiscal year 2014-2015.

District and charter schools have very different amounts of funding from their sources.

District schools obtain the majority of their funding locally, which makes up 45.38 percent of their total revenue, while charter schools receive 83.41 percent of their total revenue from the state.

State revenues come from Arizona’s general fund and are generated through sales tax, personal and corporate income taxes and state trust land revenue. Local funds are derived through the state funding formula and voter-approved bonds and overrides.


AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) Updatedazk-12fundingsources2014-15

Infographic by Claire Roney/AZEdNews
Click here for a JPEG of this infographic.

Charter schools’ revenue totaled $1,297,57,909, with 83.41 percent of their money coming from the state, 8.82 percent from federal sources, 7.69 percent was local funding, 0.08 percent came from intermediate funding and none from the county.

District schools’ revenue starkly contrasted with charters. District schools revenue totaled $8,599,799,578, with 45.38 percent coming from local funding, 37.92 percent from the state,13.43 percent from federal sources, 3.27 percent from the county, none from intermediate funding.

Federal money includes funds for school nutrition, Head Start, teacher and principal training, language instruction for English Language Learners, special education, vocational education, Title I funds, grants and other educational support.

Per student spending

Deeper in the superintendent’s annual report, are fiscal year breakdowns of current expenditures for districts and charters per Average Daily Membership that provide a more complete picture of how district schools and charter schools put their dollars to use for classroom instruction, classroom supplies, administration, support services and other support services and operations. The total attending ADM for district schools was 933,721,287 and for charters it was 161,135,707.

The district amounts below include all elementary, high school, unified, JTED and accommodation districts and are drawn from page I-23 of the Superintendent’s 2014-15 annual report. Those numbers are compared with the charter school amounts drawn from page II-35  of the Superintendent’s 2014-15 annual report, to ensure an accurate comparison.


AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) Updatedazk12perpupilspending2014-15

Infographic by Claire Roney/AZEdNews
Click here for a JPEG of this infographic.

In 2014-15, district schools spent 26 percent was spent on classroom instruction, slightly more than the charter schools 24 percent. Classroom instruction includes all regular and special education expenditures related to activities dealing directly with the interaction between teachers and students, excluding classroom supplies, according to the superintendent’s report.

Also, district schools spent $761,428,974, or 92.8 percent, on special education services for students with disabilities, while charter schools spent $59,096,987, or 7.2 percent on special education services.

Charter schools spent two percent on classroom supplies, double the district’s one percent. Included in classroom supplies are all supplies and textbook expenditures related to special education classroom instruction, excluding library books and supplies.

Charter schools spent 21 percent on administration, nearly double the district’s 11 percent. Administration expenses include all expenditures pertaining to administering policy for the operation of the district or charter, the business operations of the district or charter, school level administration and all other central support services.

Districts spent four percent on student support services, double the charter’s two percent. Student support services include expenditures for services such as social work, guidance, health, psychological, speech, audiology and other therapies.

Districts spent 14 percent on other support services and operations, slightly more than charters’ 12 percent. Other support services and operations includes expenditures for instructional staff support, media services, and non-instructional services such as food services, plant and maintenance support, transportation and community services operation.

Percentage of Latino students continues to grow

AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) AZSciTechFesivalRaytheonMathScienceFunHP

Students at the Raytheon’s Math and Science Fun event in 2012. Photo courtesy AZ SciTech Festival

Since 2004,  minority students have become an increasing majority in P-12 classrooms, with Hispanic students comprising the largest proportion of minority students, according to the the Arizona Minority Education Policy Analysis Center‘s Arizona Minority Student Progress Report 2013: Arizona in Transformation.

In 2014-15, Latino students comprise 45 percent of all of Arizona’s public elementary school students in district and charter schools combined, and 43 percent of all high school students in district and charter schools combined.

Here’s a breakdown of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic students by the schools they attend and their grade level.


AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) Updated2azstudentethnicitybygradelevel2014-15

Infographic by Claire Roney/AZEdNews
Click here for a JPEG of this infographic.

Of district elementary schools’ total 667,430 students in 2014-15, 47 percent were Hispanic, a three percent increase in the past two years. In charter elementary schools which had a total of 120,860 students, 34 percent were Hispanic, a two percent increase in the past two years.

District secondary schools had a total of 286,599 students, of which 43 percent were Hispanic, a two percent increase in the past two years. Charter secondary schools had a total of 43,530 students, of which 43 percent were Hispanic,  a three percent decrease in the past two years.

Arizona students by race

While white students remain the majority in both district and charter schools, a higher percentage of African-American and Asian students are attending charter schools, according to the superintendent’s report.


AZ student snapshot: Who they are and what's spent on them (+ Infographic) Updatedazstudentsbyracegrade2014-15

Infographic by Claire Roney/AZEdNews
Click here for a JPEG of this infographic.

Over the past two years, the percentage of elementary and secondary district students identified as Asian has decreased slightly, while the percentage of elementary and secondary charter students identified as Asian and multi-racial has increased.