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District 196 spent $714 per pupil less than the average of the 10 largest districts in the state last year while targeting a higher percentage of available resources to regular classroom instruction, according to statewide data on school district expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

Each spring, the Minnesota Department of Education makes available financial data for all public operating elementary and secondary independent school districts in the state, of which there were 328 in the 2015-16 school year. District 196 is the state’s fourth largest district. Comparable expenditure data for FY 2016 (see table) shows that District 196 spent less per pupil than the averages for the state, metro area and 10 largest districts in four of the 10 general fund expenditure categories, including operations and maintenance, student transportation, district-level administration and pupil support services. In the category of regular classroom instruction, District 196 spent approximately $400 more per pupil than the averages for districts in the metro area and statewide.

“We continue to spend a higher percentage of available funds on teachers in the classroom and less on district administration and support services,” said District 196 Superintendent Jane K. Berenz. She noted that expenditure comparisons for fiscal year 2016 are similar to previous years. “Our teachers make the biggest difference in what we do for students and that is where we will continue to focus our efforts.”

Expenditures Per Pupil for Fiscal Year 2016
Expenditure Category District 196 State Average Metro Average 10 Largest**
Regular Instruction $5,565 $5,147 $5,178 $5,694
Special Education 2,328 2,182 2,082 2,409
Operations, Maintenance & Other* 698 890 839 856
Student Transportation* 531 668 655 686
Instructional Support Services 611 622 610 714
School-Level Administration 540 463 449 483
District-Level Administration* 379 498 515 452
Student Activities & Athletics 294 318 304 223
Pupil Support Services* 263 352 350 427
Career & Technical Instruction 183 158 135 162
General Fund Operating Expenditures
$11,392 $11,298 $11,117 $12,106

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