Feature Article - June 2019
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Schools & School Districts

A Look at Trends in Schools & School Districts


Revenues & Expenditures

Schools continue to be among the least likely to report that revenues have increased year-over-year. What's more, the percentage of school respondents who saw their revenue increase fell from 16.3 percent in 2017 to 13 percent in 2018. At the same time, the percentage who said revenues had fallen remained fairly steady, at 11.5 percent. For the most part, school respondents' revenues are relatively stable, with more than three-quarters (75.6 percent) indicating that revenues in 2018 were unchanged from 2017. (See Figure 48.)

Looking forward, the number of school respondents who expect to see revenues increase grows slightly, to 17.7 percent in 2019 and 24.2 percent in 2020, while the percentage who expect revenues to fall declines to 8.5 percent in 2019 and 6.7 percent in 2020.

From 2017 to 2018, school respondents reported a 22.5 percent decrease in their operating expenditures, from an average of $1,690,000 in 2017 to $1,310,000 in 2018.

Looking forward, they expect their operating expenses to grow 2.3 percent to $1,340,000 in 2019 and then remain unchanged in 2020.

School respondents report that they recover an average of 31.4 percent of their operating costs via revenue, the lowest of all types of respondents. This is down from 2018, when school respondents recovered 34.1 percent of their operating costs, on average. Some 47.8 percent of school respondents said they recover 30 percent or less of their operating costs via revenues. Another 9 percent recover between 31 percent and 50 percent of their costs, and 6 percent recover between 51 percent and 70 percent of their operating costs. Finally, 13.4 percent of school respondents said they recover at least 71 percent of their operating costs via revenues.

School respondents were much less likely than non-school respondents to report that they had taken action to reduce their operating costs, though around two-thirds had done so. Some 66.7 percent of school respondents said they had taken action to reduce their costs, compared with 81.8 percent of non-school respondents. The most common measures employed by schools to reduce their costs were: improving energy efficiency (43.9 percent); putting construction and renovation plans on hold (18.9 percent); reducing staff (17.4 percent); increasing fees (15.9 percent); and cutting programs or services (10.6 percent).

School Facilities

As usual, school respondents were among those most likely to report stable numbers of people using their facilities over time. From 2017 to 2018, 58.3 percent said the number of people using their facilities had stayed the same, while 30.3 percent reported an increase, and 11.4 percent reported a decrease. (See Figure 49.) Looking forward, this trend holds, with 61.1 percent projecting no change in 2019 and 57.5 percent expecting no change in 2020.