Multiple factors should be considered when comparing the level of school division expenditures for instruction and expenditures for non-instructional costs, such as administration, health services and pupil transportation. These factors include economies of scale, geographic size, and the number of students requiring special services. For example:
- Smaller school divisions may have similar administrative and support costs as larger divisions but these non-instructional costs are spread over a smaller expenditure base.
- Geographically large but sparsely populated school divisions may have higher per-pupil transportation costs because of travel distances and mountainous topography.
- Divisions with large populations of at-risk or special needs students must provide support services that are required or that raise student achievement.
- School divisions report annually on expenditures and appropriations to meet each locality’s required local effort in support of the Standards of Qualityand local match requirements for incentive and lottery-funded programs. The amount by which school divisions exceed these required minimums varies based on local decisions and circumstances.
- Most state support for public education is equalized to reflect each division’s capacity to support the required educational program. The Composite Index of Local Ability-to-Pay determines state and local shares of Standards of Quality costs for each division and local match requirements for incentive and lottery-funded programs. A portion of state sales tax revenues is distributed in support of public education based on school-age population estimates.
- The federal government provides assistance to state and local education agencies in support of specific federal initiatives and mandates, such as instructional services for economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.