Feature Article - June 2014
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A Look at Trends in Schools & School Districts

Schools & School Districts


Revenues & Expenditures

Schools respondents were again among those least likely to report that their revenues had increased in the years covered by the survey. While just 15.8 percent reported that revenues had increased from 2012 to 2013, 17.4 percent projected an increase in 2014, and 18.5 percent are forecasting an increase for 2015. And, after nearly a quarter (23.7 percent) reported revenue had decreased from 2011 to 2012, the percentage of schools respondents reporting decreasing revenues fell slightly, to 19.2 percent in 2013, and further to 19.1 percent in 2014. By 2015, only 13.1 percent of schools respondents are expecting revenues to fall. (See Figure 48.)

Operating expenditures among schools respondents fell by 19.1 percent from an average of $1,519,000 reported in fiscal 2012 to $1,229,000 in fiscal 2013. In that same time frame, operating expenditures for all respondents also fell, but only by 1.7 percent. Over the course of the next two years, schools respondents expect their operating expenditures to drop further, by 1.5 percent, to an average of $1,211,000 in fiscal 2015. Interestingly, while schools respondents spent 4.3 percent more than the general survey population on operating expenditures in fiscal 2012, by fiscal 2013, they were spending 14 percent less.

Schools were slightly less likely than others to report that they had taken actions to reduce their operating expenditures. While 81.7 percent of non-schools respondents had taken such action, just 74.7 percent of schools respondents had done so.

The most common actions taken by schools respondents to reduce expenditures included improving energy efficiency (50.6 percent of schools respondents had done so), reducing staff (30.3 percent), putting construction and renovation plans on hold (22.4 percent) and cutting programs or services (20.7 percent).

School Facilities

Schools respondents continue to report stable numbers of people using their facilities over the years covered by the survey. Nearly two-thirds (65.6 percent) said there had been no change from 2012 to 2013, up from 53.8 percent who reported no change from 2011 to 2012. Looking forward, 61 percent expect usage to remain stable in 2014, and 66.7 percent expect no change in 2015. Around a third of respondents expect usage to increase in 2013 (32.7 percent) and 2014 (33.2 percent). (See Figure 49.)

Schools were less likely than others to report that they had plans for construction over the next three years. That said, more than half of schools respondents (52.8 percent) said they do have plans to build. This compares with 65.1 percent of non-schools respondents. While there was a decrease in the percentage of schools respondents planning new facilities, from 23.1 percent in 2013 to 18.3 percent in 2014, the percentage who plan to make additions or renovations to their existing facilities grew, with the number planning additions growing from 19.8 percent to 25.4 percent, and those planning renovations growing from 35.1 percent to 36.9 percent. (See Figure 50.)

After falling by 25.6 percent from $6,671,000 in 2011 to $4,963,000 in 2013, the average planned construction budget for schools respondents increased again this year. In 2014, schools respondents reported that they plan to spend 27.2 percent more than 2013 respondents for construction, with an average cost of $6,313,000.

Once again there was no change in the features most commonly found among schools respondents facilities. The top 10 current features include: locker rooms, bleachers and seating, indoor sports courts, concession areas, natural turf sports fields, outdoor tracks, classrooms and meeting rooms, fitness centers, outdoor sports courts and playgrounds.

In 2014, the percentage of schools respondents planning to add features at their facilities increased, after falling from 32.9 percent in 2011 to 24.8 percent in 2013. This year, 28.6 percent of schools respondents report that they have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. This compares with 38.8 percent of non-schools respondents.