Feature Article - June 2018
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Schools & School Districts

A Look at Trends in Schools & School Districts

Revenues & Expenditures

Not only do schools continue to be among the least likely to report that revenues are increasing, the percentage of school respondents who reported increasing revenue fell from 2016 to 2017. From 2015 to 2016, 21 percent of school respondents said their revenues increased, and 16.8 percent saw a decrease. From 2016 to 2017, only 16.3 percent of school respondents reported an increase, while 11.6 percent reported a decrease. (See Figure 50.)

Looking forward, the numbers don't change much, with 18.9 percent of school respondents projecting an increase in 2018, and 18.6 percent projecting an increase in 2019, while around 12 percent expect decreases in both of those years.

While most respondents saw their operating expenses fall by 11.9 percent from 2016 to 2017, school respondents reported an increase of 9.2 percent, from an average of $1,548,000 in 2016 to $1,690,000 in 2017.

Looking forward, school respondents expect their operating expenses to grow at a slightly slower rate than the average respondents. Schools projected a 5.9 percent increase between 2017 and 2019, from $1,690,000 to $1,790,000, while all respondents are expecting a 6.7 percent increase in that same time frame.

School respondents report that they recover an average of 34.1 percent of their operating costs via revenue. This is down slightly from 2017, when they recovered 35.4 percent. Some 44.6 percent of school respondents said they recover 30 percent or less of their operating costs via revenues. Another 8.7 percent recover between 31 percent and 50 percent of their costs, and 8.7 percent recover between 51 percent and 70 percent of their operating cost via revenue. Some 14.4 percent of school respondents said they recover at least 71 percent of their operating costs via revenues.

School respondents were less likely than non-school respondents to report that they have taken actions to reduce their operating costs, though a majority have done so. While 81.7 percent of non-school respondents said they have taken such action, just 72 percent of school respondents have done so, down from 77 percent in 2017. The most common measures employed by school respondents to reduce their operating costs include: improving energy efficiency (48.2 percent); putting construction or renovation plans on hold (22.8 percent); reducing staff (20.7 percent); increasing fees (16.1 percent); and cutting programs or services (14.5 percent).

School Facilities

As is generally the case, school respondents were among those most likely to report stable numbers of people using their facilities over time. From 2016 to 2017, 58.5 percent said the number of people using their facilities had stayed the same, while 32.8 percent reported an increase and 8.7 percent reported a decrease. (See Figure 51). Looking forward, this trend holds fairly steady, with 60 percent projecting no change in 2018 and 63.3 percent expecting no change in 2019.