State of Arizona
State's spending by operational area
Every year, school districts must decide where to allocate their monies. This pie chart shows how, as a State, Arizona’s public school districts collectively spent their funding by operational area, including the percentage they spent in the classroom and specifically on instruction.
We have monitored instructional spending since fiscal year 2001. Below are highlights from the State’s instructional spending trend showing the most recent year-to-year change and the years districts collectively spent the highest and lowest percentages on instruction.
Instructional spending percentage highlights (2001-2021)
Current fiscal year (2021)
Prior fiscal year (2020)
Highest fiscal year (2004)
Lowest fiscal year (2016)
Why monitor school district spending?
Beginning with the fiscal year 2016 budget, the K-12 education budget reconciliation bills have included the following wording each year:
“The governor and the legislature intend that school districts increase the total percentage of classroom spending over the previous year’s percentages in the combined categories of instruction, student support, and instructional support as prescribed by the auditor general.”
The bar chart below, "Percentage point change in spending by area," shows how the percentage of school districts’ spending on each area has changed during that time frame, including the total change for classroom spending. Most school district funding is based on the number of students attending, and districts can choose how to spend most funding, so every decision a school district makes to spend on one operational area directly impacts its ability to spend on another.
To put the spending percentages in context, it can also be helpful to review per pupil spending in dollars. For example, a district’s overall spending might increase, but its percentage spent on an operational area may decrease if the dollars per pupil spent on that area stay the same or even increase. We have also included the fiscal year 2019 national per pupil spending averages, which are the most recently available, to compare to the corresponding year of Arizona spending.
Percentage point change in spending by area
Per pupil spending by area
Nonclassroom spending by category
Plant operations spending
Food service spending
Operational efficiency measures
Fiscal years 2019 through 2021
|Spending per pupil||$903||$936||$1,041|
|Students per administrative position||66||65||63|
|Spending per square foot||$6.49||$6.55||$6.84|
|Square footage per student||158 ft2||160 ft2||171 ft2|
|Spending per meal||$3.08||$3.46||$3.54|
|Meals per student||143||126||113|
|Spending per mile||$4.29||$4.28||$7.22|
|Spending per rider||$1,424||$1,370||$2,862|
Why monitor average teacher salary?
Arizona’s fiscal year 2021 budget included the final year of additional funding intended to increase the State’s average teacher salary by 20 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2021. We have broken down the intended and actual percentage increases for each year below to show the progression. Although the additional monies were provided to districts with the intention to increase teacher salaries, districts were not required to use them this way, and the monies were not separately tracked to show how each district chose to spend them.
We’ve also included a table of other student and teacher measure trends during the same time frame for additional context. At a State level, these trends may not fluctuate much, but when looking at individual districts, some of these variables can help explain why the average teacher salary increased or decreased in certain years.
Intended and actual State average teacher salary increasesFiscal years 2017 through 2021
|Year||Intended % increase from base year||Actual % increase from base year||Met intended % increase?||State average teacher salary|
Other student and teacher measuresFiscal years 2017 through 2021
|Students per teacher||18.5||18.4||18.0||18.0||17.0|
|Average years of teacher experience||11.3||11.4||11.5||11.7||11.9|
|Percentage of teachers in first 3 years||19%||19%||19%||18%||17%|
|Amount of State average teacher salary from Prop 301||$5,840||$6,411||$6,941||$7,255||$7,215|