These expenditures involve functions like health services, guidance counseling, attendance monitoring, social work and psychological services. These would include spending for directly hiring or purchasing the services of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, guidance counselors, audiologists and other similar noninstructional employees.[22] These activities are “designed to improve student attendance, mental and physical health.”[23]

Unlike per-pupil spending on instruction, which was relatively similar among locale groups, per-pupil spending on student support services varies significantly. The city locale group’s per-pupil expenditure on student support approached three times that of the rural group in 2010 (see Graphic 11). Among the major groups, the city locale group produced the fastest growth in per-pupil student support expenditures, with an increase of 24 percent from 2004 to 2010. Ten of the 12 subgroups spent more per pupil in 2010 than they did in 2004, with fringe and remote town subgroups decreasing these expenditures by 1 percent and 7 percent, respectively.[*]

Graphic 11: School District Student Support Services Expenditures per Pupil by Locale Group, Michigan, Fiscal Years 2004-2010

Graphic 11: School District Student Support Services
Expenditures per Pupil by Locale Group, Michigan, Fiscal Years 2004-2010 - click to enlarge

Source: Local Education Agency Universe Survey; Michigan Department of Education, Data for National Public Education Financial Survey

There are also large disparities when comparing student support services spending as a percent of overall operational expenditures. For instance, in 2010, spending on student support services in the city locale group consumed about twice the portion of operating expenditures that it did in the rural group (see Graphic 12). Plus, from 2004 to 2010, this portion grew by 6 percent in the city locale group, but only because DPS’ share increased by 24 percent; the midsize and small city subgroups spent smaller shares at the end of the period. In fact, many of the locale subgroups dedicated a smaller portion of their operating expenditures to student support services in 2010 than they did in 2004.[†] The town locale group saw the largest decrease by this measure, dropping by about 10 percent, with the remote town subgroup decreasing by 17 percent.[‡]

Graphic 12: School District Student Support Services Expenditures as a Percent of Operating Expenditures by Locale Group, Michigan, Fiscal Years 2004-2010

Graphic 12: School District Student Support Services Expenditures as a Percent of Operating Expenditures by Locale Group, Michigan, Fiscal Years 2004-2010 - click to enlarge

Source: Local Education Agency Universe Survey; Michigan Department of Education, Data for National Public Education Financial Survey


[*] See Appendix B, Graphic 37.

[†] See Appendix B, Graphic 38.

[‡] See Appendix B, Graphic 38. It is difficult to ascertain what might account for these large differences. Based on the type of service being provided, one might expect to find higher levels of spending for student support services in districts with large proportions of low-income students. This hypothesis does not correspond with the relatively lower levels of spending in rural districts, however.