EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — February 15, 2017

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How Federal Funds are Used in Public Schools, FY 2014


The US Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) just released FY 2014 revenue and expense data for public school districts across the United States. According to the report, over $54 billion in federal funds were used by school districts during that year. While this is a small portion of the total cost of education (approximately 12 percent), it is still a large revenue source for local education agencies (LEAs, AKA "school districts").

Of this $54 billion in federal funds, the largest portion supported child nutrition programs (27 percent), followed by Title I* (26 percent), Special Education (20 percent), and an additional 27 percent to other, smaller but significant programs. According to the Department, after adjusting for inflation, the funding to school districts decreased by 4.1 percent from FY 2013.

All of this will matter greatly in the next few years as the new Administration claims that it will shrink the size of the Department of Education and push more funding to states and school districts. The question resulting will be what will happen with nutrition, Title I, Special Education, and the many other federal programs that provide critical funds for LEAs.


*Title I funds provide funding for low-income-based programs in states and LEAs. This totaled $14 billion in FY14.

SOURCE: Cornman, S.Q. (2017). Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2013–14 (Fiscal Year 2014) (NCES 2016-303). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved [February 15, 2017] from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.