As noted above,
operating expenditures (or current expenditures) are those made by a district
to carry on most of its daily activity. They include spending on personnel,
materials, equipment, transportation and energy. It should be noted that
spending on personnel involves all employee compensation, including wages,
employee insurance benefits and employer contributions to employee pension
In 2010, the city locale group had an average operating
expenditure of $13,115 per pupil, up nearly $2,000 per pupil from 2004 (see
Graphic 8). Suburban districts generated the next-highest per-pupil operating
expenditures on average: $10,662 in 2010, up about $1,300 from 2004. Town
districts produced the lowest average per-pupil operating expenditures in 2010
— $9,569, up a little more than $1,000 from 2004. Thus, in 2010, Michigan city
school districts’ average per-pupil operating expenditures significantly
exceeded those of any other locale group — 23 percent more than suburban
districts’, 35 percent more than rural districts’ and 37 percent more
than town districts’.
DPS led all 12 locale subgroups, logging operating
expenditures of about $15,570 per pupil in 2010. The fringe and distant town
subgroups had the lowest operating expenditures, averaging about $9,500 per
pupil in 2010.[*]
Even excluding DPS from the city locale group, city districts on average still
spent at least $1,600 more per pupil than the other three major locale groups
Per-pupil operating expenditures in the city locale
group also grew more than any other of the four major locale groups, climbing
by 18 percent from 2004 to 2010. DPS’ per-pupil operating expenditures
increased faster than any of the other subgroups, yielding 30 percent
growth. The midsize city, small suburban and remote rural subgroups were next,
with between 18 percent and 20 percent growth.[‡]
Operating expenditures increased by at least 11 percent in each of the
12 subgroups from 2004 to 2010.
Graphic 8: School District Operating Expenditures per Pupil
Locale Group, Michigan, Fiscal Years 2004-2010
Local Education Agency Universe Survey; Michigan Department of Education, Data
for National Public Education Financial Survey
[*] See Appendix B, Graphic 34.
[†] See Appendix B, Graphic 34.
[‡] See Appendix B, Graphic 34.
 Ave, Honegger, and Johnson, “Documentation for the NCES Common Core of Data National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS), School Year 2007-08 (Fiscal Year 2008)” (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010), B-2, B-3, http://nces
.ed.gov/ccd/pdf/stfis081agen.pdf (accessed March 4, 2011).